Daring robotic surgery saved man’s life

The success of the operation made Hahahaharam determined to turn the research project into a suitable company. She raised money, hired a team to develop the technology, and over the next few years she was a relentless evangelist at conferences on digital operating rooms. “She could be on a plane for 10 hours just to give a 10-minute talk,” she says. In 2019, Proximie is ready for commercial launch.

When the Covid-19 pandemic reached the UK a year later, Proximie had already been used in 1,200 surgeries in over 30 countries. “Like other companies in the first few weeks of the pandemic, we announced to our shareholders that we will prioritize mental health and strive to survive,” Hahahaharam said. A week later she changed her mind. “Hold on, this is exactly when people need our technology,” she says. She called another shareholder meeting and announced: we will accelerate. In six months, the number of users increased tenfold to her, and the number of surgeries increased to her 5,500. Over 20% of her in NHS hospitals now have access to this software. “Before, we were just her sci-fi concept with potential,” she says. “Suddenly it was the only way we could do things.”

according to Hahahaharam went through months without a single operation as routine operations were halted during the pandemic. “Our confidence was shattered when we returned to operations,” Hahahaharam said. “We needed to get back on track, so we worked together and got our colleagues to help us because we needed support.”

Many consultants used Proximie instead for remote support when another consultant could not be physically present. If loss of skills and confidence during the pandemic was a concern for experienced surgeons, the problem was even more pronounced for junior colleagues. According to official data, an NHS trainee had his surgical training opportunities reduced by 50%. “Many trainees who started their education missed 18 months of practice,” she says. “We can’t afford to take 10 years to develop talent. We had to think about how Proximie could accelerate that.”

For example, the American Association of Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons is shipping anatomically realistic pig tissue models to telecommuting trainees so they can practice abdominal hernia repair with remote expert assistance. Did. Meanwhile, the Hip Preservation Society has launched regular virtual education programs that include live surgery, such as labral reconstruction, broadcast to over 500 of her people around the world. “Historically, only a few trainees were allowed to undergo the procedure,” she says. “Now we have access to a handful of incidents with hundreds occurring.”

Today, over 95 percent of surgical sessions with Proximie are also documented in an online library that allows surgeons to edit and tag footage for later use in training and debriefings. increase. The library currently contains over 20,000 surgical videos, making it the largest database of its kind. “When we started, we had only live surgery capabilities in mind,” she says. “But I thought, what if people want to ask for feedback or review their performance after surgery? That’s why we built the library.” When I saw the footage of the surgery, I learned that he described his actions as “a little pushy.” “She’s found that she likes to operate on herself, even when trainees are in the room,” she says. Now, in a similar situation, she forcibly surrenders her surgical instruments, deliberately holds her hand near her chest, and walks away from her operating table. “I learned not to be in their space,” she says. “I just give them a room.”

This article appeared in the July/August 2023 issue of WIRED UK magazine.

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