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Saint Francis Memorial Hospital Introduces da Vinci Robotic Surgical System to De Marillac Academy Students

On Tuesday, Oct. 27, fourth-through seventh-grade students from De Marillac Academy experienced first-hand what it is like to be a surgeon, thanks to the surgeons and operating room staff from Dignity Health Saint Francis Memorial Hospital.

Dr. David Duong from Saint Francis Memorial Hospital shows the daVinci Robotic Surgical System to students at De Marillac Academy in San Francisco.

Approximately 150 students were introduced to the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System, a state-of-the-art technology used to perform minimally invasive procedures. Surgeons and staff shared their educational and career journeys, in the hopes of opening students' eyes to careers in medicine they may not have considered. Each student had an opportunity to sit at the robotic console and direct the instruments. They also practiced on the same simulator that the Saint Francis surgeons use for practice and training.

David Duong, MD, PhD was one of the Saint Francis surgeons who presented to students throughout the day. When he shared his educational and career journey– that he grew up in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, before attending medical school at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine – the room perked up. Dr. Duong told the students that with hard work and good grades, they could become surgeons and use state-of-the-art technology like the da Vinci to help people.

"My colleague, Dr. Ross, and I have already seen some future surgeons here," said Dr. Duong.

Using the da Vinci robot system, a surgeon operates through a single small incision. The robot features a magnified, 3D, high-definition vision system and special wristed instruments controlled by the surgeon, which bend and rotate much more that the human wrist. The robotic surgery system assists the surgeons on Saint Francis' medical staff in gynecological, urological, gastrointestinal, and general surgeries.

In addition to interacting with the da Vinci robot, students were asked to help Saint Francis name the robot. Students drew a picture of the robot, and suggested a name. A panel from Saint Francis will review the names proposed by students and a winner will be announced in early November. The winner will have their photo taken with the robot, in the operating room at Saint Francis. The photo will be framed and hung outside the operating room to commemorate this special day for students and Saint Francis staff.

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