Introduction

Mumbai's BMC hospitals may get surgical robot

 

Civic body mulls buying Rs 20-crore da Vinci Robotic Surgical System, sceptics say basic infra is lacking.

  • Client

    BMC

  • Services

    To perform complex surgeries, but will also help patients recover faster

  • Technologies

    Robotics

  • Dates

    25/09/2018

Description

BMC-run hospitals in the city could soon acquire their first ever surgical robot system worth Rs 20 crore. While a number of private hospitals in Mumbai offer robot-assisted surgery, no municipal hospital in the city, and indeed in the state, currently has surgical robots.

 

The latest, fourth-generation version of the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System was put on display at KEM Hospital, Parel, on August 13, and demonstrations on how the system works are being made to doctors and medical students from civic-run hospitals in the city until August 18.

 

Medical experts say a major advantage of robotic surgery is smaller incisions, resulting in less blood loss, and faster recovery times for patients.

 

“Many private hospitals in the city offer robot-assisted surgery. Doctors from various hospitals globally have presented cases of robot-assisted surgery at national and international medical conferences, and the results are remarkable,” said Dr Avinash Supe, dean, KEM Hospital, and medical director of BMC-run hospitals.

 

“So far, we don’t have robots in government and BMC-run medical setups. The robot [at KEM] will not only help doctors perform complex surgeries, but will also help patients recover faster,” he said.

 

The idea germinated when a group of surgeons from the civic-run KEM, Nair and Sion hospitals collectively submitted a proposal to Dr Supe to buy the da Vinci robot for the BMC.

 

The dean said he had forwarded the proposal to Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta and Additional Municipal Commissioner Idzes Kundan. “The proposal to buy the robot has been accepted in principle, and the tender will soon be floated,” Dr Supe said.

 

If all goes to plan, BMC-run hospitals will share the system, and doctors from these hospitals will take turns using it. “A robot that costs Rs 20 crore is an expensive proposition, which is why all deans and various department heads have decided that we will buy one robot, and they will operate it with prior slot bookings,” he said.

 

The robot system has been kept in the KEM Hospital boy’s hostel for demonstrations on various surgical specialties. Monday was the urology department’s designated day, and over 100 doctors from the urology departments of KEM, Sion, Nair and Cooper hospitals received training in how the system is used, and were shown simulated surgerical demonstrations.

 

But some doctors expressed reservations about the sytem’s steep price. “Rs 20 crore is a huge amount. Also, robotassisted surgeries require specific disposal material after every surgery. And poor patients who come to civic hospitals can’t afford a Rs-2 lakh robotic surgery. They will always choose cheaper options,” a senior doctor from KEM Hospital told Mirror on condition of anonymity.

 

Another doctor from Sion Hospital had a similar view. “The authorities should first provide basic things, instead of thinking of buying a robot. Even basic equipment is lacking in Sion Hospital. The building has multiple leakages, even in the ICUs and operation theatre.”

 

City hospitals that use surgical robots

 

Bandra’s Asian Heart Institute was the first to purchase the third generation of the robot for cardiac procedures in 2012. But it sold the machine to Saifee Hospital in 2015. Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital and Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre have also bought the third generation of the da Vinci robot. The latest fourth-generation da Vinci Robotic Surgical System is available at Hinduja Hospital in Mahim, and Tata Memorial Hospital for various surgeries.

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