The Give | Provinces’ First Surgical Robot Campaign Reaches Major…

Provinces’ First Surgical Robot Campaign Reaches Major Milestone

February 9, 2022

SAINT JOHN, NB: Today, the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation announced the launch of a $6.2 million appeal to purchase the province's first surgical robot and fund a three-year program to employ it across several departments capitalizing on Horizon's Saint John Regional Hospital's strengths.

The largest tertiary-care hospital in New Brunswick and provincial leader in minimally invasive and cardiac surgeries, acquiring a da Vinci sets the stage for the next level of surgical program excellence.

"The da Vinci is a natural fit," says Dr. Jean- François Légaré, Clinical Head of Cardiac Surgery for the New Brunswick Heart Centre. "What is clear is that the best surgical programs marry minimally invasive approaches with robotics."

This leading-edge technology has been the norm in parts of the world for more than a decade and enables tiny, precise movements beyond human capabilities.

"The movements are so intuitive. It mimics everything I'm doing. If I move my hand, the robot is translating that into the same motion but in a much finer, scaled-down way," says Dr. Matt Acker, a urologist at the Saint John Regional Hospital trained in robotics.

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.

Surgeons aren't the only New Brunswickers asking for the technology. "We've had patients who have opted to go to other parts of Canada to have surgery because they wanted a robotic approach not available locally. With da Vinci, we can help them here," says Dr. Scott Bagnell.

A robotic-assisted surgery program is critical to attracting and retaining top surgeons and talent, including surgical residents trained in this technology who are looking to practice in cutting-edge hospitals.

"Our medical staff have been hearing about robotic approaches and techniques for some time. There are many specialties that could benefit from the da Vinci," says Eileen MacGibbon, Vice-President of Clinical Services for Horizon Health Network. "Recruitment can be so competitive that the technology will be an advantage, an edge that will serve New Brunswick well."

Beyond recruitment, the da Vinci also opens the door to networking and collaborating with top-ranking hospitals in North America and around the world, along with the chance to lead and participate in clinical research. The Regional has already been in touch with other Canadian hospitals with robotic surgery programs, laying the groundwork for future projects and conversations.

The donor-funded Robotic-Assisted Surgery program will be used for urological, cardiac, and gynecological cancer surgeries in the short term, with plans to expand to a wide range of procedures.

Supporting Innovative Healthcare

The campaign has inspired donors from across the province to come together to raise $1.5 million to ensure our top surgeons get the latest technology, so patients can get the best care they deserve right here at home.

The milestone for funds raised follows the 10th Annual Love Your Hospital Radio-thon. Over ten years, the partnership between Acadia Broadcasting's sister stations Country 94.1 and 97.3 The Wave and the Foundation has raised a cumulative total of $1,461,716.00 for the Saint John Regional Hospital.

"Our hospital is such an important place. But when you get to hear it firsthand from patients and their loved ones, it's inspiring and reminds us all how important it is to support health care providers," says Jamie Gallagher, President and CEO of the Foundation.

Find out more about the Give Robotic-Assisted Surgery campaign at

About the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation

The Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation, a leader in healthcare philanthropy, has raised over $123,000,000 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. Learn more at

For more information and for media inquiries:

Shannon Hunter
Vice President