Doctor performs 1,000 surgeries with help from a robot, patient says he saved her life

Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 7:48 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - On National Doctor’s Day, one Ocala physician and his patient certainly have plenty to celebrate. Reginald Griffin is a general and bariatric surgeon at HCA Florida West Marion Hospital. He recently completed his 1,000th robotics surgery. The hospital has earned the robotic center of excellence award for this work.

“The robot is a very important tool we use in surgery,” he said. “It’s important for general surgeons to stay up with new technology. The robot is the latest technology in general surgery.”

Griffin said he’s been using the technology since 2013. He now does the majority of his...
Griffin said he’s been using the technology since 2013. He now does the majority of his surgeries with the robot.(WCJB)

According to data compiled by laparoscopic surgeon Prof. Dr. R.K. Mishra and published on the World Laparoscopy Hospital website, it was November 7, 1992, when the first robot-assisted hip replacement was performed on a 64-year-old man using the Robodoc. Ten more robotic hip replacements “were performed at Sutter General Hospital, Sacramento, Calif., under an investigational device exemption (IDE) approved by FDA Oct. 9, 1992.”

Mishra’s data also states that in June 1997, the first surgical robot to get FDA approval for surgeons to use to perform laparoscopic surgery was the “da Vinci Surgical System manufactured by Intuitive Surgical Inc.”

Griffin said he’s been using the technology since 2013. He now does the majority of his surgeries with the robot. He was originally trained to perform what’s called “open surgery” and “laparoscopic surgery,” Griffin said, which has been an important part of the medical field since 1990.

“The robot has really helped us reduce patients’ pain and get them out of the hospital,” said Griffin.

Doris Bostick is one of Griffin’s patients. She said after a year of multiple medications, and the need for a constant, steady flow of oxygen, she received robotic bariatric sleeve surgery in November of last year. She said she suffered from A-fib, high blood pressure, and obesity.

“I have lost 56 pounds in four months,” she said.

She showed us her scars, after the interview, which seemed to be barely there. “I had holes. No cuts, no incisions,” she said. She had the surgery and said the next morning she went home.

“I didn’t have to lay in bed,” said Bostick. “Nobody had to do any chores for me.”

Her children didn’t want her to get the surgery initially, but Bostick said they didn’t fully understand what she was going through medically. Ultimately she said yes to going under the knife.

But before surgery, she first had to go through a heart attack, stroke, and a fierce battle with covid.

“She came back and she said Ms. Bostick, you’re positive,” Bostick said recalling the conversation with a hospital nurse. “I said what. I said I don’t go around anyone, I said I don’t leave my room. I started weeping, and they took me to [the] death floor. I call the 6th-floor death floor because [there’s] nobody up there except people with COVID and all you hear is coughing.”

She recounted the horrific experience to our cameras. Staff only gave her wipes, Bostick said, instead of regular towels “like they’re expecting you to die.” But then she said she met a real-life angel. A doctor sat on the edge of her bed and told her “I’m going to take care of you, do you hear me.” She said she never saw him after that. She was released and sent home four days later.

It’s been four months since her weight loss surgery. Now she said she can walk around her neighborhood twice over and not need the oxygen she had needed for so many years.

“I feel great. To wake up and feel no pain and no breathing problems...choose to live. This is not your end.”

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