Patient Story: Bridget’s Journey with the Da Vinci Surgical Robot

August 16, 2017

Although she no longer lives in the area, Bridget Cairns has always thought of Humber River Hospital as her Hospital. Her only daughter was born here, and all of her doctors are affiliated with Humber.

When Bridget was diagnosed with kidney cancer, it felt only natural for her to return to a place that felt like home for her treatment. Although she consulted with other physicians, Bridget was referred to Humber’s renowned Dr. Jack Barkin who proposed a different course of action.

Da Vinci Surgical Robot“Other doctors suggested a very invasive surgery that would have left me with a 12-inch scar and a lengthy recovery,” explains Bridget. “But Dr. Barkin was very thorough in explaining a less invasive surgery that would remove the cancer without having to remove my kidney.”

In mid-December 2016, Bridget arrived at Humber for her kidney cancer procedure, all under the expertise of Dr. Barkin and the surgery team. Dr.Barkin used the da Vinci Surgical Robot to meticulously dissect the kidney and identify the cancerous lump. He used a special tool (a miniature intra-cavitary ultrasound probe) along with the robot to define the exact depth and margins of the cancer in the kidney.

As he worked, he was able to show Bridget precisely what would be removed and the healthy tissue that would be left behind.

“I was lying awake watching the procedure on this screen in the operating room,” remembers Bridget.

Once the tumour was located, Dr. Barkin was able to remove the cancer. Using the da Vinci means that patients will receive the most minimally invasive procedures possible. They will experience less pain and fewer complications, need a shorter hospital stay, recover quicker and return to their normal daily activities faster.

The day after the surgery, Bridget wasn’t on any painkillers (except Tylenol for a pesky headache), she was up and walking on the inpatient floor and was looking forward to going home the next day – only two days after surgery.

“Right before I went in for surgery, I said to Dr. Barkin, ‘I’m putting all my trust in you,’” said Bridget. “And now, I’m so glad that I did. I have hope for the future thanks to Dr. Barkin, the staff at Humber and the wonderful donor that invested in the purchase of the da Vinci Robot.”

The da Vinci Surgical Robot is the centerpiece of the Murphy and Helen Hull Robotics Centre at Humber River Hospital.  The Centre was established thanks to a transformational donation from the late Murphy and Helen Hull.