The Other Da Vinci Code

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The Da Vinci Urological Surgery Robot

The Da Vinci Urological Surgery Robot

Sitting several feet away from the operating table, Dr Anup Ramani, consulting surgeon at Saifee Hospital, Charni Road, hums to himself, his face buried inside a television-like gadget. A team of doctors and nurses wait in a corner, on standby, as an ominous looking robotic arm probes in the abdomen of the patient, to reach a cancerous kidney. The robot is aptly named the Da Vinci, given its finesse. Imported from the US, it costs a whopping 14 crore. Using this expensive, sophisticated instrument is a matter of privilege, we are told, and is complicated enough to challenge the best.

Now, Saifee Hospital along with Mumbai University has floated a fellowship for urologists to train under Dr Ramani's team to use the robot for a year, starting April.

The ever-smiling doctor is thrilled about the revolutionary machine. We are already interviewing applicants, who need to be very well qualified urologists. This is the future of surgery and the fellowship will make one more urologist an expert in robotic surgery. Da Vinci, meanwhile, moves his steely tentacles as if to say, crack the Da Vinci Code.

It reassures both the patient and their loved ones that their hopes for a treatment are not limited to the skills of physicians no matter how expert they will be. It was inaugurated by then Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh in 2006. It was built without recourse to commercial or state funding and had to overcome two decades of legal obstructions over the ownership and use of the land before building eventually commenced.

It houses some of the latest equipment for diagnosis and treatment in almost all fields of medicine with consultants and staff amongst the most highly trained and qualified anywhere in the country. Over the years it has developed and continues to develop a stellar reputation as one of the most caring and well-administered hospitals in India as well as becoming a renowned teaching hospital for medical students from all over the world.