Portsmouth bus driver's life saved by newest surgical robot at QA Hospital

THE life of a Portsmouth bus driver has been ‘saved’ after having robotic-assisted emergency surgery using a new piece of equipment at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

By Fiona Callingham
Friday, 5th November 2021, 12:09 pm
Updated Friday, 5th November 2021, 2:48 pm

Colin Ayres, 39, began feeling unwell in September with what he thought was a stomach bug, however, surgeons uncovered an abscess and obstruction in his bowel.

Luckily they were able to successfully operate on Colin using a new Da Vinci surgical robot – now the third of its kind at the hospital – which will be used for the UK’s first robotic-assisted emergency surgery programme.

Colin said: ‘I was a little apprehensive at first, but when the team came to speak to me and explained the plan, I felt confident and I’m so glad I did it, as this operation has saved my life.

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Surgeon Jim Khan pictured with the first Da Vinci robot at QA in 2013. Pictures: Ian Hargreaves (132761-4c)

‘Alternatives to the robotic-assisted surgery would have seriously altered my quality of life afterwards, but now I have little to show for my adventure, with minimal scarring and am looking forward to returning to work next week.

‘I’m overjoyed that QA has the robot and offered me this option for emergency surgery.’

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He added: ‘The care and support I’ve received from beginning to end has been amazing.

Colin Ayres, 39, had life-saving surgery using the Da Vinci at QA Hospital. Picture: PHU

‘I trusted the team and the robot as the best option for me and the dedication from everyone involved has saved my life.’

Robotic-assisted surgery allows complicated procedures to be carried out through keyhole incisions using a hi-tech 3D camera and robotic technology that is extremely precise, benefiting patients with shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery times.

Since a Da Vinci robot was first installed at the hospital in 2013 surgeons have used the systems for hundreds of procedures a year.

Professor Jim Khan, a consultant surgeon at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (PHU) who specialises in robotic surgery, said: ‘I am thrilled that PHU will be exploring emergency robotic-assisted surgery for the first time.

‘Twenty per cent of our colorectal cancer patients are admitted to QA in an emergency due to obstruction, bleeding, or perforation of the bowel. There are many survival and recovery benefits with the use of robotic surgery, so the arrival of the new robot means that more patients can quickly receive the treatment they need.’

The new Da Vinci XI surgical system has been loaned to PHU by Intuitive.

It means the trust will be able to offer emergency robotic-assisted surgery to patients with bowel blockages, complicated gallstone disease, and incarcerated hernias; patients benefit from emergency precision surgery by having fewer complications, quicker recovery periods and improved survival rates.

The trust will be able to train more surgeons in several specialities, which will lead to robotic surgery services becoming available to a larger cohort of patients.

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