Tag Archives: Surgery

Flushing Hospital marks milestone use of surgical robot

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

100th case IMG_0218

The great inventor never saw the device named for him, but the da Vinci robot employed at Flushing Hospital Medical Center has proven a remarkable innovation in treating surgery patients and hastening their recovery.

Recently, the hospital marked the 100th procedure the surgical device performed since debuting several months ago. Most of its cases were for general surgery or urological, gynecological or bariatric purposes, but the robot named for famed inventor and artist Leonardo da Vinci may soon handle more complex medical matters, according to Flushing Hospital spokesman Michael Hinck.

“The potential for the robot is limitless,” he said. “We’re performing a half-dozen cases per week and we’re continuing to work with a full team of doctors who are using it and training to do more and more procedures.”

Employed at other hospitals across the country, the da Vinci robot stands above the surgery field, where the doctor and staff hover above a patient on the operating table. With the robot in place, a trained surgeon sits at a nearby console and uses his/her hands to control the robot, which mimics those moves on the patient.

The da Vinci surgical system. (photos courtesy of Flushing Hospital)

The da Vinci surgical system. (photos courtesy of Flushing Hospital)

Hinck said that the robot, equipped with state-of-the-art technology, makes smaller and more precise surgical cuts than human counterparts. This not only results in a more accurate operation, but also quickens recovery time for patients and reduces blood loss, pain and scar tissue development.

The robot also features minimally invasive, single site technology which enables a surgeon operating on the abdomen to place a small incision through the patient’s navel, leaving virtually no scar.

Flushing Hospital plans to expand da Vinci’s use in the operating room and is training more surgeons to use the device.

“[Its use is] growing both in the number and breadth of procedures weekly,” Hinck added.

For more information regarding the da Vinci surgical system, call Flushing Hospital at 718-670-3135.


Flushing newborn, doctors reunite after life-saving surgery

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Katelyn Di Salvo


On her two month birthday, Aleeah Quezada reunited with the doctors who saved her life.

The infant sat wide-eyed in her mother Carolina Osorio’s arms Friday at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Flushing, as people listened to her miraculous story.

During a routine prenatal visit, Osorio, of Flushing, was told by her obstetrician that an abnormality was detected in the baby’s heart by an ultrasound test.

A follow up fetal echocardiogram was performed by Preeta Dhanatwari, director of Cohen’s fetal heart program, and the test revealed the fetus had transposition of the greater arteries, a condition in which the vessel carrying blood to the lungs and the vessel carrying blood to the body are connected to opposite sides of the heart.

“When I looked at Aleeah’s heart, I noticed that her heart was about the size of a U.S. quarter,” Dhanatwari said. “If not corrected, Aleeah could have been born with low oxygen levels in the blood stream.”

Aleeah, born December 29, had open heart surgery on January 2. It was performed by Dr. Vincent Parnell, chief of pediatric cardiac surgery at the medical center.

“Watching my daughter go through this made me appreciate the small things,” said the baby’s father, Carlos Quezada. “This really put things in perspective for me.”

The surgery was successful, and the infant is healing so well that her scar from the procedure is barely visible, her parents said.

“She’s just a normal baby,” Osorio said. “She sleeps well, she eats well, and she screams really loud.”



Facing surgery? How you can help ensure the best outcome

| Brandpoint@queenscourier.com


When you’re facing surgery, it’s normal to feel anxious. Many people find it daunting to completely surrender their well-being to others. Common fears range from concerns about undergoing anesthesia, to how long the recovery period will last. That is why it is important to know and trust the physicians responsible for your anesthesia care.

Fortunately, you can do a lot to prepare yourself for surgery and anesthesia, and take steps to help your physicians, including your anesthesiologist, achieve the best possible outcome for you.

Getting the facts on anesthesia

Anesthesia and pain management are integral facets of any surgical procedure. Fifty years ago, anesthesia-related fatalities were about one in every 1,500 procedures. Today, that rate is less than one in every 200,000 when an anesthesiologist administers or supervises the patient’s anesthesia care.

Communicating with your physicians is essential. Many hospitals provide patients with the opportunity to meet with the key members of their surgical team prior to surgery, including the anesthesia team. If the option is not offered, feel free to request a meeting and to ask critical questions.

The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) offers answers to some commonly asked questions, including:

* What are the qualifications of an anesthesiologist? Anesthesiologists are medical doctors who specialize in the field of anesthesiology. With more than eight years of post-graduate, advanced medical training and education, an anesthesiologist is properly prepared to make split-second decisions to safeguard your health before, during and following surgery. With significantly longer and more extensive training than other classifications of anesthesia practitioners, an anesthesiologist appropriately supervises the anesthesia care team.

* Who else will be involved in your anesthesia care? Your anesthesia care team may also include an anesthesiologist assistant. These skilled health professionals complete four-year pre-med programs and accredited anesthesiologist assistant education programs to earn their professional certification. They are required to work under the supervision of an anesthesiologist. A nurse anesthetist is a registered nurse who has completed an accredited nurse anesthesia program. Often, an anesthesiologist supervises the nurse’s work, but he or she may also work under the supervision of other doctors.

* What type of anesthesia care might you receive? There are three basic types of anesthesia care: general, regional and local. Patients under general anesthesia are unconscious and have no awareness or other sensations. For regional anesthesia, an anesthesiologist administers an injection near a cluster of nerves to numb the area that requires surgery. Patients may remain awake, or be given a sedative. In local anesthesia, the anesthetic drug is injected into the tissue to numb only a specific location on the body that requires minor surgery.

Your role in preparations

While understanding how anesthesia will be used in your surgery – and by whom – is important to achieve the best possible outcome, you can also do a lot to prepare yourself physically at home, before your surgery.

First, follow all pre-operative directions from your physicians. These can range from quitting smoking as soon as you know you face surgery, to getting a full eight hours of sleep the night before your procedure.

Make sure your doctor and anesthesiologist are both aware of every medication you take, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements, since they can all affect your anesthesia and surgery. ASA offers a “Checklist of Emergency Contact Information and Current Medications” that you can download, complete and bring with you on the day of your surgery.

After your surgery

To aid in achieving optimal results post-procedure, you must follow the doctor’s directions, whether it’s getting back on your feet as soon as possible, or getting plenty of bed rest until you’ve more fully recovered.

Be attentive to any side effects and report problems to your doctor promptly. While improved anesthetics and techniques have drastically reduced post-operative problems, some patients still experience them. Your anesthesiologist may prescribe medications to minimize post-operative pain, nausea and vomiting. It is vital that patients keep all prescription medication out of the reach of children. Once you have completed the prescription cycle, be sure to safely and properly discard any unused medication.

Councilmember Dan Halloran recovering after successful surgery to remove benign tumor

| mchan@queenscourier.com


Councilmember — and congressional hopeful — Dan Halloran is on the road to recovery after undergoing a lengthy but successful neurosurgical procedure to remove a benign tumor on Wednesday, officials said.

“Dan is doing well,” said spokesperson Steven Stites. “He’s back on his feet and looks like the same old Dan — if you couldn’t tell from his triumphant return to social media.”

According to Stites, Halloran was out of surgery by early evening on Wednesday and is well ahead of his recovery schedule. The councilmember is currently staying at NYU Medical Center in Manhattan but will return home to Flushing to recuperate for the next few weeks, Stites said.

Halloran was timely diagnosed in March, although representatives would not specify the location of the tumor.

The councilmember recently took to his Facebook page, telling friends and constituents he was “out of the rough patch” and posting a photo of himself smiling in the hospital bed.

“Doctors are shocked — I am way ahead of recovery schedule. They attribute it to whiskey and my thick Irish skull,” Halloran joked.

While Halloran — who is running for Congress in the 6th District — recovers, he said his office will run 100 percent in his absence for constituent issues. Stites said the councilmember would be off the campaign trail for a short time, “but it does not affect his long-term plans.”

“He is in it to win it,” Stites said.

Steve Lavin to undergo cancer surgery today

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of St. John's University

St. John’s Coach Steve Lavin will undergo surgery today to treat his prostate cancer which was diagnosed last fall.

Lavin, entering his second year on the Johnnies sideline, coached the Red Storm to their most successful season in a decade last year. It was only after the season that the school announced that the 47 year old had been diagnosed with an early stage of the disease during the season.

“The advantage of early detection is that we were afforded the time to research all options,” said Lavin. “After weighing treatment options with the experts at Sloan we have decided surgery is the best path to take for my particular prostate cancer condition.”

Lavin is expected to return to his coaching responsibilities after a short recovery period. The season kicks-off on October 15 with the team’s first practice following a tip-off event the prior night.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s chairman of the Department of Surgery, Peter T. Scardino, M.D. will perform the surgery. Scardino said that the coach should make a quick and full recovery. It is also highly likely that this treatment will eradicate the cancer, the doctor said

Lavin has involved himself with organizations promoting cancer research and awareness for the past decade, including Coaches vs. Cancer and The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

As part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers weekend, Lavin wore white Nike Air Force Ones during the Johnnies upset of Duke to help raise awareness and support the American Cancer Society. Claiming comfort and not superstition, Lavin continued to sport sneakers during games for the remainder of the season.

The Johnnies enter the season looking to build on their success of a year ago when a senior-laden team reached the NCAA tournament. The year’s team features just one returning player – junior guard Malik Stith – and includes seven freshmen.