New da Vinci Surgical Assisting Robot benefits men’s health program

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A brand new multi-million dollar da Vinci® Surgical Assisting Robot was delivered to Windsor Regional Hospital on July 8, 2014 after five years of careful planning and much campaigning.

Part of that planning was the recruitment of Stacey Dusik, Clinical Practice Manager to the team.  A resident of Windsor, Ontario Ms. Dusik brought with her over 10 years of expertise with the da Vinci® Robot from Henry Ford Hospital in Michigan under the direction of the developer of the da Vinci® robotic technique, Dr. Mani Menon. Dr. Menon is a Urologist in the United States, as well as the world’s leading surgeon for robotic prostatectomies and one of the first doctors ever to perform nerve-sparing radical prostate cancer surgery.

Two of Windsor Regional Hospital’s Urologists, Dr. Tom Deklaj and Dr. Raj Goel had already had extensive training on the robotic surgery platform prior to joining Windsor Regional Hospital. Ms. Dusik spent the first three months training the remaining surgeons, along with the nursing and support staff.

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On September 11, 2014 the first Prostatectomy procedure was completed; since then six more patients have benefited. “There’s quite a buzz around the OR,” says Stacey.  “Everyone wants to be involved, everyone wants to see it in operation.”

“Eight more surgeries have already been booked into December, and another ten pending,” adds Pat Galbraith, Medical Secretary responsible for surgery bookings and coordination. “Our patients are ecstatic and I’m so happy for them. They feel good, they’re happy with the results, and they say they have very little discomfort from the surgery – their only complaint is they wish the catheter wasn’t so uncomfortable.”

Windsor Regional Hospital and the Erie St. Clair Region had identified a need to establish a Regional Comprehensive Men’s Health Program (RCMHP) over five years ago. Male health needs such as disorders of the urinary tract, prostate cancer, and sexual dysfunction had not been well serviced in the Erie St. Clair LHIN with no simple pathways from the family physician, to a specialist, to treatment.  This lack of coordination had resulted in long wait times from suspicion to treatment and approximately 50 per cent of prostate cancer patients were having surgery outside of the region.

In 2012 a Prostate Diagnostic Assessment Program was implemented using a multi-disciplinary team approach, coordinating services, appointments and tests and ensuring timely access to care. The team includes a Nurse Navigator who guides each patient through the system. So far over 300 men have been referred to the program; 71 per cent of which had a positive prostate cancer diagnosis.

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The official announcement for annual operating funding of the RCMHP came in March 2014 from the provincial government. Ottawa is the only other community in the province with a men’s health program, but Windsor Regional Hospital is the only community hospital in the province to receive funding for such a program.

April 11, 2014 saw the official wrap-up of the Windsor Essex County Cancer Centre Foundation capital campaign, “It’s In Your Jeans”, announcing they exceeded their goal, raising $5.4 million. Major campaign sponsors, including Cypher Systems Group, generously conceded program naming, offering instead that it be named after the late Dr. Richard Boyd, a Urologist who was instrumental in spearheading the process of the program. It is now called the Dr. Richard Boyd Regional Comprehensive Men’s Health Program.

Says a patient who just completed the seventh procedure: “I am amazed at the experience.  I had a hernia operation and this was a lot less painful. And I can’t imagine having to travel to outside of this area.  My wife and I are grateful for what we have here in Windsor, and the work of the Windsor Essex Cancer Centre Foundation and all the staff who have made this possible.”