-by Ashlynn Kowalczky
On January 19, 2017 O’Gorman High School students and the O’Gorman-Greater Sioux Falls HOSA Chapter had the opportunity to see and interact with the da Vinci robot first hand. The features and abilities of the surgical robot were explained to students as they watched along. The da Vinci robot is helping to decrease surgical recovery time and minimize the incisions made to operate. The ability to pivot around the incision point enables the robot to have less room for error during the procedures. And as the da Vinci representative told the students about these features, they also got to see how it happened as he would move the arms around to exemplify. Students were allowed to ask questions and, man, did they have plenty! Everyone, including teachers and the chapter advisors, were very intrigued by the robot and curious about future medical advances they would be making with it. For now, surgeries with the da Vinci are based in the abdominal region, but in the future will hopefully spread out other areas of the human body.
An added bonus to the robot being brought for the students was that Dr. Luis Rojas, Gynecologic Oncologist from Avera Medical Group joined the presentation and shared with the students how he incorporates the da Vinci in his medical practice. He now is able to perform surgeries that at one time were unthinkable with minimal invasion to the patient. The students were also given the chance to interact with it themselves as. The representative let students sit in the controller part of the robot and “be” the surgeon. Rather than actually operating, they played a ring toss game but it was amazing to see (and feel) how the movements translated into the actions that the robot arms performed. The students also got the chance to use foot pedals to switch which arms were in control and change the settings of the light probe. They had the opportunity to see and feel what the surgeon would feel and got a better idea if surgery and its medical advances would be something they would be interested in. It was definitely an intriguing experience that every student was grateful for and left the room talking about.