Davinci robot used for Child's Surgery at Gulf Coast Medical Center

Brenda James breathes a sigh of relief after finding out the surgery on her eight-year-old son was a success.

Tre Stevenson was born with stomach problems that have plagued him all his life.

"This was a little boy who's had a g-tube ever since he was born that he was using for taking medications and getting food."

Several previous surgeries repair some of the problems, allowing Tre to eat on his own and no longer needs the tube. But other problems surfaced.

"Usually when you take out the g-tube the hole closes up spontaneously within a day or two. His did not, and despite multiple attempts to get it to closed, it simply would not close. In that situation you have to do it surgically."

Not the news Tre or his mother wanted to hear until Dr. Taylor told them about the Davinci Robotic Surgical System.

"I was interested in the procedure, what it entailed, how it was done. I went online and looked up some information."

"Normally I would do this as a little open operation and make a little incision in the belly and taking down that stomach where it's attached to the abdominal wall and closing that hole in the stomach. But now with the robot here, I'm able to do that surgery minimally invasive."

The Davinci System is nothing new in Bay County. It's been used for everything from hysterectomies to kidney surgery. Surgeons navigate the instrument with hand and foot controls. Each natural hand and wrist movement is translated into corresponding robotic movements.

"It's basically like taking your hands and sticking them inside the patient, just much smaller."

What is new is using it on a child.

"This is the first pediatric surgery case that's been done in this area and probably only one of a few general pediatric surgeries done in the state of Florida."

The robot is designed to give surgeons the same control they have during open surgeries, utilizing a series of small holes instead of a large incision.

"With three small incisions took that gastro cutaneous fistula down, fixed the hole in the stomach, fixed the hole in the abdominal wall and everything went well."

"I wish that in some of my son's previous surgeries that this was available to him, it would have been less invasive, less painful, faster recovery time which all of those things are important especially for a young, active boy."

Dr. Taylor says he he's hoping to build a pediatric robotic program.

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