1) A 21 year old women had a brain tumor removed successfully with the surgery being performed using a robot.  The robot was controlled by a surgeon from a computer workstation working in conjunction with an intraoperative MRI machine.
The women, Paige Nickason, speaking form her hospital room less than 24 hours after the surgery, said, “I had to have the turmor removed anyway so I was happy to help by being part of this historic surgery.”
The surgery was performed at the Foothills Medical Centre using a surgical robot developed by a team led by Dr. Garnette Sutherland, professor of neurosurgery in the University of Calgery Faculty of Medicine.
The NeuroArm site, with a video:
2) Also from a May 2nd article on the Science Daily site:
“A new surgical procedure for head and neck cancer at the University of Alabama at Birmingham offers improved accuracy for surgeons and reduced post-operative pain for patients.

“The new procedure uses robotic surgery, and results have shown it lessens the scarring, breathing problems and damage to speech that can happen with treating head and neck cancers, said William Carroll, M.D., a scientist in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.”

“Initial tests have shown the new procedure also shortens recovery times for cancer patients.”

“There is an option for patients to have a more minimally invasive surgery, and one that could effectively remove the cancer while causing fewer side effects,” he said.

“Robotic surgery is an alternative to traditional open surgery and a refinement on the concept of laparoscopic surgery, Carroll said. The robot most commonly used in cancer treatment is called the da Vinci, which is sold by Intuitive Surgical.

“UAB was the first medical center in Alabama and among the first in the United States to begin using the da Vinci for head and neck cancers more than a year ago. Since that time, 40 UAB patients have had the new operation.”

3) Questions:

a. Would it bother you to know that major surgery you need was going to performed using a robot?

b. Medical advances all come with a price tag.  Those that can afford it, or have adequate medical coverage, will live longer lives and have a better quality of life.  Those who can’t will die younger, have reduce mobility or live in more pain. The health care gap between those with adequate medical coverage and those without it is likely to continue to grow.

In those countries where governments provide health care to all it’s citizens the results appear to me to be mixed.  In some case the medical care seems to be adequate in other case it’s sub par.  Government run programs appear to be more inefficient and result in higher taxes.

Should universal health coverage be provide to all Americans?