University Hospital Limerick's masterplan to live stream robotic surgeries

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Students at UL’s medical school will soon be able to interact with the robotic surgical team at University Hospital Limerick, thanks to a new 3D-HD live-streaming initiative

Students at UL’s medical school will soon be able to interact with the robotic surgical team at University Hospital Limerick, thanks to a new 3D-HD live-streaming initiative

UNIVERSITY Hospital Limerick has a masterplan to champion a 3D live-streaming project that will see its state-of-the-art robotic surgery exhibited to lecture theatres and hospitals worldwide.

The news follows a major meeting of some 100 of the region’s most skilled consultant surgeons and professionals, at the newly-opened Clinical Education Research Centre at UHL, last Saturday.

In a lecture hall at the €12.75m facility, health experts viewed a live-stream of robotic surgery in Dooradoyle, undertaken by renowned King’s College London surgeon, Ben Challacombe.

Since June 2016, UHL has operated on 110 patients using the €2.8m Da Vinci surgical robot — a four-armed remote-controlled operating machine that can make tiny incisions that cannot be done by the human hand.

And now 360 degree live streaming will be available to students at the Graduate Entry Medical School at UL, and to non-consultant hospital consultants, nurses and health professionals.

The next step is to roll out the programme to lecture theatres at UHL, then to hospitals group-wide, and then on a global platform, a spokesperson said. 

Surgeon Prof J Calvin Coffey said that this live-streaming initiative will have enormous benefits for students.

He said that lecture halls can ditch the powerpoint presentations and now observe “complex operations live and interact from the classroom with the surgeons in the theatre”.

“They can view the anatomy of the patient close up and observe the robotic arms and instruments, providing an unrivalled educational opportunity.”

Chairperson of the South West Urological Meeting, Mr Subhasis Giri, UHL, said that students will now be able to see a “robot’s eye view” of the inside of a patient, and ask practical questions to the team in real-time.

Mr Giri added: “While technical skills are important, young surgeons also need to learn how to manage the stresses of the actual operating room. It’s difficult to learn this from a simulated environment.”

UL Hospitals Group CEO, Prof Colette Cowan said that the benefits to the patients “are enormous” as they substitute keyhole surgery with robotic surgery “where it’s possible” at UHL.