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2008 Press Releases
Mease Countryside Brings More Robot-assisted Surgery Options to North Pinellas and South Pasco

Safety Harbor, Fla., (March 5, 2008) - Mease Countryside Hospital is now offering the local community more comfortable and less invasive treatment for prostate cancer, gynecological cancers and other conditions with the addition of the da Vinci Surgical System’s advanced robotic technology to the hospital’s surgical suite.

“The addition of the da Vinci robot system is a continuation of the commitment to the quality health care Mease Countryside is providing the north Pinellas and south Pasco communities,” said Jim Pfeiffer, FACHE, executive vice president, Morton Plant Mease Health Care and chief operating officer, Mease Countryside Hospital. “Technological innovations are producing benefits not possible just several years ago, and now Mease Countryside’s patients can take advantage of those benefits.”

The da Vinci robot system consists of a surgeon’s control console, a surgical cart with four robotic arms, and a binocular-like monitor positioned close to the patient that magnifies the surgical area 10 times larger. One robot arm holds a camera displaying internal organs, with the other three maneuvering surgical tools.

“With the monitor providing three-dimensional internal images of the patient, the robotic arms scale, filter and translate the surgeon's movements to make them more precise, said Lonnie T. Klein, M.D., who recently performed Mease Countryside’s first robot-assisted prostate cancer surgery.

“It is an extension of the surgeon, allowing us to view a magnified image of internal organs and perform intricate surgical techniques,” said Martin B. Richman, M.D.

The intricate cuts made possible by the robot technology provide several patient benefits:

  • minimal blood loss
  • less risk of infection and hernias
  • less pain and reliance on narcotic painkillers
  • shorter recovery time
  • resumption of normal diet immediately following surgery.

For prostate cancer surgery, robotic arms allow for the removal of a cancerous prostate gland by making four to six small incisions, as opposed to traditional prostatectomy procedures which necessitates large, open surgical incisions in the abdomen.

“Despite robot-assisted surgery being relatively new, the patient benefits are quickly making the procedure an accepted standard of care for the treatment of prostate cancer,” said Michael Szostak, M.D. Drs. Klein, Richman and Szostak are all board-certified urologists and will be using robotic surgery techniques for the treatment of prostate cancer.

Gynecological cancers and other conditions that will be treated at Mease Countryside through the surgical robot include ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer and severe endometriosis. “Robot-assisted surgery is superior for the treatment of gynecological diseases and conditions,” noted Hector Arango, M.D., gynecologic oncologist and the first surgeon in Florida to treat endometrial cancer using the da Vinci robot. “The minimally invasive technique allows us to bring life-saving surgery to women with less of the complications commonly associated with major abdominal surgery.”

Mease Countryside becomes the second hospital in the Morton Plant Mease system to add the da Vinci robot to its surgical suites, after Morton Plant Hospital first offered the procedure in 2005.

Established in 1985, Mease Countryside Hospital is a 300-bed facility committed to improving the health of everyone it serves. Since 1997 Mease Countryside has been awarded nine Top 100 Hospital designations in the areas of stroke, orthopaedic, intensive care and overall care by the Solucient 100 Top Hospitals: National Benchmarks for Success. In 2003, the hospital was awarded Magnet Designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the most prestigious national recognition of excellence in nursing care. The hospitals of Morton Plant Mease Health Care are part of the first group of hospitals nationally to have earned re-certification of the Gold Seal of Approval™ for stroke care from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). Mease Countryside Hospital is located at 3231 McMullen Booth Rd., Safety Harbor, Fla., (727) 725-6111.

Contact: Beth Hardy (727) 298-6199 Phone, (727) 402-8113 Pager or Amy Morrow (727) 461-8538 Phone, (727) 402-5975 Pager