Livin' on the MDedge

Texas’ tasty heart cake and Gotham’s coronavirus robot


Make dialysis great again!

A Native American wooden totem pole. benedeck/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Nelson Gibson, a 59-year-old resident of Port St. Lucie, Fla., and Fresenius Kidney Care have been having quite the disagreement on social media. According to the Miami Herald, Mr. Gibson, who’d been undergoing dialysis treatment three times a week at the center, has discontinued his treatment there because they banned his new choice of emotional support.

Now, you’re probably thinking that Mr. Nelson tried to bring in his dog or some other animal, and that’s surely an issue of hygiene. But no, Mr. Gibson wasn’t bringing in a dog or cat, or even a squirrel or turkey, but a president.

Specifically, Mr. Nelson’s emotional support was one President Donald J. Trump.

Okay, it wasn’t actually Mr. Trump himself, but a life-sized (bigly?) cardboard cutout of the president smiling and offering two thumbs up. This, um, unusual choice was based on the president’s signing of an executive order in July 2019 launching an initiative promoting kidney disease awareness.

Mr. Nelson had previously been bringing in smaller images of the president. But when he brought in the large cutout – made by his son – a social worker at the center told him that the president couldn’t stay, adding that “this is not a Trump rally,” according to Mr. Nelson.

Naturally, this has caused quite a rift. Mr. Nelson feels that his freedom of expression and speech has been violated, and Fresenius says they can’t allow a support item so big because of those pesky health and safety regulations. Typical doctors.

The actual President Trump has yet to respond to this odd situation, but no doubt he’ll offer Fresenius a hearty “you’re fired!”

Your friendly neighborhood pandemic robot

A retro toy robot. ThomasVogel/E+
It’s now nearly impossible to go one day without hearing “coronavirus this, coronavirus that.” In the face of a global panic, what’s the best solution?

Robots, of course!

A shiny new robot in Times Square not only can recognize symptoms of the coronavirus, it also can provide information to promote prevention and stop the spread. And if you look like a tourist, it’ll try to sell you half-priced tickets for a Big Apple bus tour. Move over, smartphones; having a robot analyze my symptoms sounds way more fun than frantically googling them.

The “Promobot” was designed with a friendly face and welcoming smile – that’s how you know the robot isn’t a local.

Interested users can interact with the Promobot’s iPad, which has a questionnaire regarding signs and symptoms of the coronavirus. Promobot doesn’t actually physically detect the virus (it’s a robot, not a blood test), but the questionnaire asks about general symptoms of coronavirus. At the end, the robot gives advice on how to proceed if the answers indicate the virus is present (hopefully without any panic-inducing fanfare).

Ah, New York: Where even the robots are friendlier than the residents.

Beating? No. Delicious? Yes

A cake in the shape of a heart. Mikhail Spazkov/iStock/Getty Images Plus
It’s a heart!

No, it’s a cake!




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