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Worldclass healthcare

Arrival of “Jack” the Robot heralds new era of surgical innovation at Vancouver General Hospital

September 10th, 2007
Vancouver: Vancouver General Hospital today officially welcomes the arrival of “Jack” the Robot and ushers in a new era of surgical innovation and patient care with the unveiling of the new donor-funded surgical robot. Named “Jack” after donor Jack Poole, the new da Vinci S HD surgical system enables surgeons to carry out robot-assisted surgical procedures by translating the surgeon’s hand into corresponding micro-movements of instruments positioned inside the patient.

“I’m very proud to play a part in helping take surgery at VGH to a whole new level,” said Jack Poole. “As a prostate cancer survivor, knowing that the ‘super-specialists’ at VGH are equipped with the most sophisticated and advanced technology available is very comforting.”

The new unit, Western Canada’s first multipurpose robot and the most advanced of its kind, was made possible through a lead gift of $3 million from Jack Poole and a generous gift of $1.5 million from Jim Pattison. VGH is one of only four hospitals in Canada to employ the robotic technology. The $6.5 million project includes the purchase of the da Vinci system, installation, training and the initial three-year operating costs, during which surgeons at VGH will use the robot to perform specific surgical procedures in urology, cardiac surgery and gynecology. It will be paid for from private donations through VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation with approximately $2 million remaining to be raised. Robot-assisted surgeries are set to begin in October.

At the end of a three-year pilot, the robot assisted surgery program will be assessed on how to best integrate it into the normal operations budget of the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. This trial includes both the capital and incremental operating costs of providing this surgical service above and beyond conventional surgical methods.

“Robot-assisted surgery employs a number of features that enhances surgical dexterity and patient safety,” said Dr. Larry Goldenberg, OBC, Professor and Head, Department of Urologic Sciences, VGH and UBC and Co-Director, Prostate Center at VGH. “For prostate patients, robot-assisted surgery has been proven to result in less blood loss, fewer complications, shorter hospital stays and more rapid return to normal activities.”

“The world-class care provided at VGH helps people from all across B.C.,” said Jim Pattison. “Technology with the potential to benefit so many from across B.C. is well worth supporting.”

“For cardiovascular surgeons, this technology allows us to more accurately and easily perform complex surgical procedures in confined spaces, such as the closed chest or abdomen,” said Dr. Guy Fradet, Head of Vancouver General’s Division of Cardiovascular Surgery and Medical Director of Cardiac Surgery at VGH and UBC Hospital. “This new equipment allows us to explore exciting possibilities for new and better patient care.”

“Donors are instrumental in providing the ‘super-specialists’ at our hospitals with the most sophisticated technology,” says Ron Dumouchelle, President & CEO, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. “We would like to thank Jack Poole and Jim Pattison and other generous donors for helping lead us into the next era of patient care for people from across B.C.”

VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation is a registered charity that raises funding for the latest, most sophisticated medical equipment, world-class research and improvements to patient care for Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital, GF Strong Rehab Centre and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute. For more than 25 years, the Foundation and its donors have been a bridge between the essential health care governments provide and the most advanced health care possible.


For more information:
Jon Hicke
Director, Marketing & Communications
VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation
Tel: 604.875.5196