Forbes adds robotic surgery
The planned addition of $2.2 million in robotic surgery equipment at Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville has little to do with the opening of rival UPMC East, the chief medical officer at Forbes said Thursday.
"This is totally patient-centric," said Dr. Mark Rubino, a gynecologic surgeon, when asked by the Tribune-Review whether the addition of the daVinci Surgical System is the latest salvo in an ongoing competition that has included Forbes gaining approval to add and expand signage at its facility.
The daVinci robotic equipment, which can be used to mimic a surgeon's hand movements in real time, will mostly be used for hysterectomies and prostate removal, Rubino said. With the dual-console robot, two different surgeons at once can use the machine, which makes small incisions with tiny instruments that can be difficult to manipulate in conventional laparoscopic surgery. The vast majority of prostate removals are done using the equipment because it is difficult to reach the prostate.
Doctors at Forbes perform about 120 hysterectomies every year, and the percentage of procedures performed with robotic techniques is expected to increase.
"We've had a very busy women's health service line, and we've been able to maintain obstetrics and women's health services. Why should I make my patients drive Downtown to get these procedures?"
Forbes finds itself preparing to battle UPMC East, a $240 million hospital expected to open this summer less than a mile away.
Forbes, owned by financially troubled West Penn Allegheny Health System, this month received approval to erect three oversized signs on top of its 35-year-old building to compete with those placed atop UPMC East.
Highmark Inc., the state's largest health care insurance company, is awaiting state approval to acquire the West Penn Allegheny system.
A single-console daVinci system has been in use for some time at two of Forbes' sister hospitals - Allegheny General Hospital in the North Side and West Penn Hospital in Bloomfield. Surgeons at AGH in June used the daVinci system to extract a donor kidney that was used in a transplant.
There are no plans to have daVinci equipment at UPMC East. Spokeswoman Gloria Kreps said UPMC has used the daVinci equipment at five of its hospitals -- Presbyterian, Montefiore and Shadyside in Pittsburgh, Passavant in McCandless and Hamot in Erie -- for several types of surgery. At Magee, for instance, it is used for benign hysterectomies, gynecologic oncology cases, urologic procedures for women and men and bariatric surgery.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.