Here we have a doctor who used a laptop, BroadBand and remote Robot to perform a brain surgery. A flavor of things to come
I do not see a widespread use of this in the very near future for performing operations but the use of this set up for performing remote checkups and consultations will grow dramatically as the costs are aligned.
Quote form the article -
“Yes, it was a robot. It was amazing,” Jeanne MacDonald told her husband over the phone Thursday from her bed in the neurosurgery unit at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax.
On Wednesday, neurosurgeon Dr. Ivar Mendez replaced the battery and leads on a spinal stimulator that had been implanted in Ms. MacDonald four years ago to control her debilitating pain.
Earlier Thursday, without leaving his laboratory in Dalhousie Universityâ€™s Sir Charles Tupper Building, Dr. Mendez used a robot to examine Ms. MacDonaldâ€™s surgical wound and help research co-ordinator Paula Chiasson, at Ms. MacDonaldâ€™s bedside, program the implant.
Relying on a laptop computer, a joystick and a broadband Internet connection, Dr. Mendez deftly steered the person-sized robot through the cramped space of a two-person room at the Halifax Infirmary.
With a pair of eye-like lenses above the robotâ€™s fully manoeuvrable flat-screen head, Dr. Mendez zoomed in on the incision, took a picture for the patientâ€™s record and checked the readings on the device used to calibrate the stimulator. He talked to Ms. MacDonald and asked Ms. Chiasson questions from two blocks down Summer Street.
Ms. MacDonald and fellow patient Heather Carver greeted the arrival of the steel grey robot, with Dr. Mendezâ€™s face displayed life-sized on its screen, as if it was the doctor himself.
“It doesnâ€™t bother me at all,” Ms. MacDonald said after the checkup. “I was just very happy to see his face.”
She said Dr. Mendez had also used the robot to check on her the night before from his home.
“He was like a kid with a new toy,” she said. “Itâ€™s so exciting.”
The robot, which began making rounds in Halifax about 10 days ago, is the first of its kind in Canada and one of only a few in North America.
Valued at about $200,000 and manufactured by InTouch Health of Santa Barbara, Calif., the robot was bought through an anonymous gift to the QEII Foundation.