News & stories, Introducing da Vinci

November 2022

Thanks to donor generosity, it’s New Brunswick's turn to transform surgical care.

(Saint John) – The Saint John Regional Hospital has successfully completed the first robotic-assisted surgery case in New Brunswick using a donor-funded da Vinci surgical system. A provincial leader in minimally invasive and cardiac surgeries, robotics-assisted surgery sets the stage for the next level of surgical program excellence. The presence of the da Vinci robot ensures more precision and faster recoveries while attracting and retaining the very best medical talent.

“The Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation and its donors have been long-standing partners in care with Horizon,” said Margaret Melanson, interim President and CEO. “We are grateful for your generosity and continued commitment to improving care in your community. Thank you for investing in the future of our surgical teams.”

This leading-edge technology has been the norm in parts of the world, the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation's successful robotic-assisted surgery campaign ensures patients do no have to travel to benefit from this essential treatment.

"Our campaign inspired over 1,100 donors, physicians, and leading organizations to unite and support bringing surgical robotics to our province. The impact of da Vinci's arrival was immediate. We're already hearing stories of improved patient outcomes," says Jamie Gallagher, President & CEO of the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation. "I want to thank all donors for their generosity in bringing this technology to New Brunswick, this campaign is another example of the power of philanthropy in helping transform healthcare."

The da Vinci surgical system is designed to help surgeons perform minimally invasive surgery. The innovative robot can be used across a spectrum of surgical procedures, including general urologic, cardiac and gynecologic surgery and more.

"I've witnessed first-hand how surgical robotics can navigate complex surgeries and improve patient outcomes," says Dr. Matt Acker, a urologic surgeon trained in robotic-assisted surgery in Miami, Florida. "The donor support for robotic surgery has been unbelievably impressive. There has been so much excitement in the community and throughout the hospital about this new technology."

The technology used to perform complex surgeries has better patient outcomes and patient satisfaction. It's correlated with shorter hospital stays and less risk of complication. Patients as a whole recover faster, with less pain and fewer drugs.

"I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was given a choice. I chose robotic-assisted surgery, and it was amazing. I spent one night in the hospital, and the next morning I came home. Thank you to all the donors who brought robotic surgery to New Brunswick. It's something that will help a lot of people. I'm the first one here who had it done, and I feel fantastic," says Emile Hachey, the provinces first robotic assisted-surgery patient.

Quick Facts

The Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation has raised $4.2 million to support New Brunswick's first robotic-assisted surgical program. This campaign was entirely donor funded, with over 1,110 donors.

The da Vinci robot has four arms, one with a camera, all controlled by a surgeon as they navigate the procedure via the 3D, high-definition video. Surgeons can use specialized tools that are designed to help with precise dissection and reconstruction deep inside the body.

Incisions for these procedures are less than one centimetre in size. As a result, patients experience significantly reduced blood loss and less pain. This means that recovery is less stressful for the patient, their family and healthcare workers.

The first robotic-assisted surgery team includes Urologic Oncologists Dr. Matt Acker, Dr. Scott Bagnell, nurses Chanti Garrett, Courtny Chedore, and Stephanie Anstey, and Anesthesiologist Dr. Todd Chedore.

More than 20 robotic surgeries have been scheduled since October 2022 – treating patients living with kidney and prostate cancers.

The next phase of Horizon Health's robotic-assisted surgical program is the implementation in other surgical specialties, including cardiac, thoracic and gynecology.

About the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation

The Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation, a leader in healthcare philanthropy, has raised over $132,000,000 to advance leading-edge, world-class care for New Brunswickers for over 37 years. Throughout our history, we have funded initiatives outside the scope of government, investing in capital equipment, research, education, mental health and patient support programs at our hospital and across the province.

For more information contact:

Shannon Hunter
Vice President | 506.349.5116

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