State of the art €2.6m surgical robot unveiled at UHL

Innovation: Da Vinci machine located at hospital

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

State of the art €2.6m surgical robot unveiled at UHL

Patient Michael Hanrahan with Colette Cowan, Prof J Calvin Coffey and surgeon Subhasis Giri Picture: Brian Arthur

A “STATE-of-the-art” surgical robot has been launched at University Hospital Limerick, making it one of the most medically-advanced cancer treatment facilities in Ireland.

The Da Vinci Xi Dual Console Robot, the details of which were first revealed by the Limerick Leader this September, is the first of its kind in a public hospital in Ireland, valued at €2.6m.

Donated by the Midwestern Hospitals Development Trust, and funded by the JP McManus Benevolent Fund, the robot is able to perform remote-controlled laparoscopic — or keyhole — colorectal, renal and adrenal surgeries.

The pioneering surgeons behind the project are Prof Calvin Coffey, colorectal surgeon, Subhasis Giri, urologist surgeon, and Limerickman Dr Colin Pierce, colorectal surgeon, has recently joined the robotic surgery team.

A spokesperson for the UL Hospitals Group said that this type of surgery is the “highest international standard of surgery worldwide” and is the most advanced type of surgery.

Leading the team, Prof Coffey, foundation chair of surgery at UL’s Graduate Entry Medical School, said that, hitherto, this type of surgery has been part of the private healthcare sector.

“Now, for the first time, it is available to public patients in the Mid-West for colorectal and renal and urologic cases. The dual console will allow not one, but two surgeons to operate simultaneously, ensuring optimal decision-making and precision for each individual patient, the expertise is doubled.”

So far, there have been 29 cases at UHL with “hugely encouraging results and a high level of patient satisfaction”, Prof Coffey added.

Junior doctors, nurses and students, who wish to learn more about how robotic surgery is done, will soon be able to witness it in action via live broadcast. This project has received €135,000 in funding from the hospital’s academic partner, University of Limerick.

Launching the project this Tuesday, UL Hospitals Group chief executive Colette Cowan said that the robotic surgery can provide “significant cost savings”.

UL Hospitals board chairperson, Prof Niall O’Higgins said that the robot deserves “widespread attention and celebration”.