Just fifteen years ago it would have been hard to believe that robots would be welcome in the surgical suite. However, the future has arrived, and the use of a “robot” has become commonplace in many hospitals. Thanks to the vision and philanthropic support of several donors, Memorial Hospital will soon be part of this brave new world.

The da Vinci “robot” is a surgical system that facilitates complex surgeries using a minimally invasive approach. It allows the surgeon to sit at a computer console next to the patient and perform surgery utilizing robotic arms that have extremely small, precise instruments attached. The surgeon’s hand movements are communicated via wristed instruments that bend and rotate to a far greater degree than the human hand. A magnified vision system provides the surgeon with a high definition view inside the patient’s body. The surgeon’s hand movements are translated by the robotic technology into small, precise movements.

The da Vinci system was designed to improve upon both traditional “open surgery” and conventional laparoscopic surgery. With “open surgery”, the incision must be large enough to allow the surgeon to insert his or her hand and instruments inside the patient’s body. However, the da Vinci robot enables the surgeon to finely control tiny instruments which enter the body on a device about the size of a pencil. This approach usually results in less blood loss, reduced pain and less postoperative medication than traditional open surgery, as well as shorter recovery times and hospital stays. This technology is often used on patients with more complex cases and higher risk factors.

The da Vinci robot has become a normal part of today’s medical training; virtually 100% of today’s surgical fellows in urology and gynecology are being trained on the da Vinci. It’s estimated that nationwide, the robot is now used for more than 90% of prostatectomies. The robot is also widely used for many gynecological, cardiac, thoracic, hernia, colorectal and ENT procedures.

The da Vinci robot is a ‘must have’ for Memorial to remain the center of healthcare excellence here in the North Bay. Securing this technology is a crucial component of St. Joseph Health’s ability to attract and retain top surgeons. One hundred percent of the cost of the robot is being funded through philanthropy. Thanks to lead gifts from the Finley Foundation, the Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation, and Frank and Elvera Seghesio, the acquisition of the robot is now within our reach. The Seghesios recently received a “hands-on” demonstration of the da Vinci and were quite impressed. Frank said “This technology is remarkable and I’m so glad we are able to support this great advancement which will impact the lives of so many here in Sonoma County.”

If you are interested in learning more about the da Vinci robot or other ways of supporting Memorial Hospital, please contact us at 707-547-4680.

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