Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

April 1, 2013

KDMC named observation site for da Vinci surgery

Shannon Miller
The Independent

ASHLAND — Some in the medical field will soon be traveling to Ashland to learn a thing or two about using a robotic surgery system.

King’s Daughters Medical Center has recently been named a National Observation site for da Vinci surgery by Intuitive Surgical, the company that produces the surgical system, said Tom Dearing, director of integrated communications at the hospital.

Da Vinci is a robotic surgical system that allows surgeons to perform complex operations through a few tiny incisions with increased vision, precision and control. About 10 doctors at KDMC regularly use the system, which the hospital acquired in 2007, Dearing said.

“It (the da Vinci system) allows them to do the same amount of work in less space, and it’s less invasive,” Dearing said.

The hospital also recently got its second da Vinci machine, which has a dual console, allowing a second doctor to watch the surgery up close.

“Being an observation site for Intuitive means people interested in getting involved with robotic surgery, and more difficult cases, are directed to us,” said Dr. Eric Smith, a general and bariatric surgeon at KDMC who regularly uses the da Vinci system.

This kind of recognition is good for the hospital and shows how efficient the staff is, Smith said.

“Others can look through the viewfinder and actually see me do the case. Our team is efficient. We can show that cases can be done efficiently,” he said.

“This is something that’s awarded to us by Intuitive. It shows the number and variety of robotic cases we do and how efficient we are,” Dearing said.

Surgeons from nearby Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio and even from much farther away, like North or South Carolina, are expected to visit the hospital to observe surgical cases, Smith said.

SHANNON MILLER can be reached at smiller@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2657.