New robot allows doctors at rural hospital in Virginia to perform higher-success surgeries

Posted at 11:10 PM, May 05, 2021

FRANKLIN, Va. — The da Vinci Xi is the newest member of the medical team at Bon Secours Southampton Memorial Hospital in Franklin. It is the first of its kind in this rural region, and Dr. Yassar Yousef says the robot has made performing surgeries easier.

“This is the main reason why I’m joining the team here,” Yousef said, “is because of the availability of the system and what it offers for the patient and the area here.”

Youssef and Dr. Ghias Rana are the two doctors qualified to use the da Vinci Xi. Rana, an OBGYN, also shared the same feelings in regards to the robot making surgeries easier.

"We are very optimistic about the future of the da Vinci here in Franklin,” Rana said, "as well as the other hospitals providing the da Vinci."

They praise the machine's ability to make small and precise incisions, which means patients may leave the same day, won't need to undergo extensive pain and recovery treatments, and have higher success rates.

According to a press release, Bon Secours acquired the robot for this hospital towards the end of 2020. For them, the best part is patients do not have to travel far.

“These patients had to leave the region to have this care done elsewhere, and now they can have it done here,” Kim Marks, the hospital’s president, said. “We would perform the procedures that we haven’t been able to perform before."

The da Vinci Xi stays stored inside an operating room next to other equipment needed for an operation.

The surgical procedure works like this: The patient lies down on a table, and the doctor would have a team of nurses helping him, but the doctor would be seated in front of a device that allows the doctor to see the robot from its point of view and to perform the surgery.

If the robot were not at the hospital, “I wouldn’t be here, elementary,” Youssef said. “I don’t do a lot of laparoscopic surgery anymore; I don’t do any open surgery anymore. I only do robotic surgery."

Right now, Marks said they are training more people on the da Vinci Xi.

“What we hope for right now is to bring additional surgeons to our area and our community,” Marks said. “And by having this technology is helping us recruit surgeons, and like I said, providing better care close to home for our residence."

Julio Avila at WTKR first reported this story.