Thursday, November 3, 2011

#307 / Robot Surgery

For those facing abdominal surgery, technology has some good news. The Da Vinci robot makes it all go better.

A friend recently sent me a clip from one of the TED conferences. In this clip, Dr. Catherine Mohr discusses "Surgery's past, present, and robotic future." Dr. Mohr is an Instructor in the Department of Surgery at the Stanford School of Medicine, and is a research physician with an extensive engineering background, working on evaluating emerging technologies for incorporation into surgical robots.

The video shots of actual surgeries aren't for the squeamish, but I did find this presentation helpful. It may be a "must see" for those facing abdominal surgery.

Near the end of her presentation, which pretty much says that "everything is getting better," and which could lead her audience to the conclusion that they can stop worrying now, Dr. Mohr does note that neither robots nor anything else will ever be able to eliminate our ultimate mortality. And finding out about our mortality isn't all that bad, according to Dr. Mohr. It can lead to a "reevaluation of priorities and a realignment of what your goals are in life, unlike anything else." Dr. Mohr doesn't want to deprive us of that "epiphany."

Once we realize that we are facing death, we often start figuring out what our life should be about. Dr. Mohr put it in a way that seemed "just right" to me. She said her aim was to leave her patients, post surgery, "whole, intact, and functional enough to go out and save the world, after you've decided you need to do it."

My only question: couldn't we could all decide to do it before we undergo abdominal surgery?

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