Robotic Hysterectomy with the da Vinci Surgical System: Miren’s Story
At 80 years old, Miren was alarmed when blood started to appear in her urine.
“They couldn’t find a reason,” remembers her daughter Sylvia. “But then it got way worse – my mom was bleeding heavily so we took her to the emergency department at our local hospital.”
Miren was referred to see an OBGYN just outside Toronto. The OBGYN performed a biopsy and discovered that Miren had Grade 1 cancer in her uterus.
“She told us that she could perform a traditional hysterectomy for my mom, but because of her age and health conditions, she recommended that we consider robotic surgery with Dr. Andre LaRoche at Humber River Hospital,” says Sylvia. “She said the surgery with Dr. LaRoche would be less invasive and have a faster recovery time.”
Miren agreed to meet Dr. LaRoche, who explained the procedure to her family. Using the da Vinci Surgical Robot, Dr. LaRoche would be able to remove Miren’s uterus and ovaries through a few small incisions. As Miren’s OBGYN had told them, the surgery would be much less invasive than a traditional hysterectomy.
“My mother was very afraid of having surgery,” says Sylvia. “But Dr. LaRoche was such a nice man and put us at ease. On the morning of her surgery, he arrived early to talk to us and that really helped her relax. She felt like a VIP having that much time with him.”
During Miren’s surgery, Sylvia received text message updates to her phone updating her on her mother’s progress.
“The text messages were fabulous, and it made me feel so much calmer, knowing what stage in her surgery she was at,” says Sylvia. “My mom stayed at Humber for one night in a great single patient room. It had a pullout loveseat, a sink, and a shower. We were so impressed.”
After bringing Miren home, Sylvia was amazed to see how mobile her mother was. Miren experienced a little cramping, but no real pain and never took any pain medication beyond Tylenol. She was up on her feet, washing her face and brushing her teeth the next day.
“There is no way she would have been able to do that without the robotic surgery,” says Sylvia. “When I looked at her incision, there was nothing there except three tiny spots! Her bleeding has completely stopped. We are forever in Dr. LaRoche’s debt.”
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.