Hospital in Vidalia celebrates one year anniversary of robotics surgery program

Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 5:43 PM EST
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VIDALIA, Ga. (WTOC) - Memorial Health Meadows Hospital in Vidalia is celebrating a big milestone. It’s been one year since they started their robotics surgery program.

Staff says in 2022, they performed 310 surgeries with the robot and this year they hope to perform even more.

A few years ago, staff at Memorial Health Meadows Hospital say getting this robot was just a dream, but ended up a reality.

“We found out on September 28 of 2021 that we were getting a robot and the work started then,” said Jeffrey Harden, the Chief Nursing Officer at Memorial Health Meadows Hospital.

In January of 2022 Chief Nursing Officer, Jeffrey Harden says they did their first robotic surgery.

“In our first month we did 13 cases. By our third month were doing 23 and 25 cases a month.”

So how does it work?

“The robot itself is over at the table and actually looks like somewhat of an octopus with tentacles reaching out over the table and then the surgeon themselves is sitting at a consul where they’re using their fingers to control minute-size instruments with extreme precision,” said Harden.

General Surgeon and Chair of Robotics Surgery Dr. Kendrix Evans says the robot is very efficient in performing a variety of procedures including hysterectomies, appendectomies, hernia repairs, bariatric surgeries and much more.

“The robot makes things a lot easier because your visualization is better. That camera on that robot gets really deep down there, so you can actually see a little bit better than if it was open,” said Dr. Evans.

Staff say the two biggest benefits for using the robotic machine is the less time it takes for a patient to heal after surgery and less pain that they experience.

Dr. Evans says patients have fewer and smaller incisions because this type of surgery is less invasive. Dr. Evans is one of eight surgeons at the hospital who are using the robot and this number keeps growing.

Director of Surgical Services, Jennifer Wolfe says it’s a wonderful experience to get to use this robot nearly every day to change peoples’ lives.

“We focus on keeping our patients safe and doing the best for them and so that was our greatest push for them. This was a great resource to have for our community,” said Wolfe.

“Care should be kept close to home whenever possible and that’s been one of core missions that we’ve worked towards and I think this has just helped that,” said Harden.

Harden says they hope to get a second robot before or by 2025 and that this year they plan on performing 350 robotic surgeries.

Thursday night, the hospital held an open house to celebrate the anniversary and so that people could hear patient testimonials.