Robots in Surgery

I was incredibly fortunate today.  A friend, who is an attending surgeon at Stanford, arranged a training session for his residents at Intuitive Surgical today, and he very generously invited my wife, my younger daughter and me to come and participate.  He knew that my cancer surgery last fall was performed with Intuitive’s da Vinci robotic surgery system and was giving me and my family the opportunity to learn more about that system.  Plus, he knew that my younger daughter is thinking about going to medical school and was providing for her a glimpse behind the scenes into a training session for budding young surgeons.

We got to see these surgeons-in-training taught to set up and operate the da Vinci Si, participate with them in training on the simulators, and see a demonstration of the da Vinci Xi, which was just announced in April.  See the Intuitive Surgical press release about the Xi here:  Intuitive Surgical Announces New da Vinci Xi Surgical System.

As impressive as the current machine is, I was blown away by the new Xi!  It will fit into many more operating rooms and will be easier for nurses and docs to set up and operate.  I am convinced that the Xi will extend robotic surgery to many new surgical procedures.

I owe a thousand thanks to my friend for including me and my family in the training session and to Intuitive Surgical for hosting the event.  What an incredible way to spend a Saturday morning – and an invaluable glimpse into the world of medicine for my daughter!

I was particularly happy to get to see one of the residents who was on my care team for my surgery last fall.  I’m glad to have been able to personally thank him for his part in my care.  We got to talking about where we grew up, and we figured out that he might have heard me back when I was working on the radio in the southeast back in the 70s.  He grew up listening to one of the stations for which I worked.

In May, I wrote about a book titled A Constellation of Vital Phenomena.  It showed how people can intersect with one another lives over many years without ever knowing it.  Here was a great example of such intersections, over the course of 40 years, in my own life.

It is sometimes a very, very small world!  As Mark Twain said, “Truth is stranger than fiction, … because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”



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