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Health Essentials from NHRMC
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n August 2008, Wilmington resident Lou Greer was witness to one of southeastern North Carolina’s greatest healthcare moments: the grand opening celebration of the new Betty H. Cameron Women’s and Children’s Hospital at New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

Greer didn’t know then she’d be back in the same building again six months later – not as an invited guest under a canopy of balloons and bright lights, but as an overnight patient recovering from cancer surgery.

“I was shocked when I learned I had uterine cancer,” said Greer, 68, who has three grandchildren. “I’d always thought of myself as healthy and active.”

Fortunately for Greer, there was gynecological oncologist Dr. Walter Gajewski of NHRMC’s Zimmer Cancer Center and “Leo,” NHRMC’s new da Vinci robotic surgical system. Leo allows surgeons greater visibility and precision when performing complex minimally invasive procedures. “

At NHRMC the da Vinci robotic surgical system is being used to treat a variety of gynecological cancers,” said Dr. Gajewski, who specializes in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of women with cancer of the reproductive organs.

“Benefits to the patient over

 

traditional open surgery include smaller incisions, less bleeding, less pain and a quicker recovery.”

“At the same time,” continued Dr. Gajewski, “the system allows for better movement and precision on behalf of the surgeon because of the system’s highly sophisticated and maneuverable instruments – all of which means a better outcome for the patient.”

That was all Greer needed to hear. She had her surgery at NHRMC’s new 186,500-squarefoot Surgical Pavilion, making her one of NHRMC’s first patients to undergo robotic surgery for gynecological cancer.

“I awoke from the procedure in little pain, with only small band-aids covering the five very small incisions,” said Greer. “And I only had to spend one night in the hospital.”

Greer spent that night in the new Women’s Unit, part of the Betty H. Cameron Women’s and Children’s Hospital. The facility, which boasts all private rooms and a highly specialized medical staff, serves women admitted to the hospital in need of gynecological treatment.

“The new Women’s Unit at the Betty H. Cameron Women’s and Children’s Hospital is completely dedicated to women and was designed to promote optimal healing in a quiet, pleasant, family-centered environment,” said Dr. Gajewski.

 

“The care at the Women’s Unit was excellent and beyond compare,” said Greer. “The nurses couldn’t have been any nicer or more attentive. I was so glad the unit was there for me.”

Greer said her recovery was as Dr. Gajewski had promised: Quicker and less painful.

“My recovery has been easy, and I haven’t had any pain,” said Greer. “I’ve been doing everything from driving to walking. I’d recommend robotic surgery to anyone.”

For Greer, the only challenge of robotic surgery was actually remembering she’d even had it:

“I got excited in the Carolina-Duke basketball game – I’m a Carolina fan – and I did a little cheer I probably shouldn’t have done, and that reminded me I’d had surgery.”

Plan to attend the free Live and Learn seminar on Thursday, Oct. 15, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the NHRMC Surgical Pavilion. Get your questions answered by experts. To register, call 910.815.5188 or visit nhrmc.org/liveandlearn.

 

 

 
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