New Machinery Creating Medical Miracles in Physical Rehabilitation

It's a balancing hoist, funded by an anonymous donor through the Miller-Dwan Foundation and medical professionals tell us the impact is amazing.

DULUTH, Minn.- It’s called the ZeroG, a new piece of medical equipment that’s helping make vast improvements possible for patients attempting to walk again.

It’s a balancing hoist, funded by an anonymous donor through the Miller-Dwan Foundation and medical professionals tell us the impact is amazing.  The ZeroG is cutting edge technology and it’s creating more opportunities for therapists at Essentia Health’s Polinsky Medical Rehabilitation Center to help patients recover.

It’s a robotic body support system, that helps patients who’ve suffered from a traumatic injury or medical event try to walk again. Medical professionals tell us this equipment helps patients achieve their goal sooner.

“It’s far advanced than the treatments that have been offered before,” Miller-Dawn Foundation president Traci Marciniak said.

Strapping in the harness, while attempting the course offers support for physical therapy patients and professionals. By taking some weight off the patients and allowing them to move.  Before the ZeroG equipment, during the balancing rehabilitation, four physical therapists would have to focus on one patient.

“Therapists go into this profession to help people meet their goals, this machine allows us to do it so quickly and see a huge benefit right away,”  Thorson said.

“So when you see the compassion that they have, the skillset they have as a therapist, matched with this cutting-edge equipment, amazing things happen,” Marciniak said.

This new technology can be programmed for error, but there’s no room to worry. Medical professionals tell us recovering from a fall is a key part of therapy and this system provides complete control. Therapists preset how many inches patients can stumble and with a consistent automatic quick catch, abrupt falls are prevented.

“The equipment keeps them safe, allows them to do more activity,” Thorson said. “If the therapist gets tired holding you up you’re limited by that therapist, the equipment doesn’t get tired.”

The ZeroG is worth nearly a quarter of a million dollars and with only two months of use, many believe it’s already made the anonymous donation priceless.

“We have patients that we didn’t think would actually be able to physically walk again that are actually able to walk,” Marciniak said.

The ZeroG robotic support system is the first in northern Minnesota.

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