Neurosurgical Robotic Program to reach Cape Breton



    HALIFAX, Sept. 26 /CNW/ - Neurosurgeons at the QEII Health Sciences
Centre and patients in Cape Breton have much to celebrate today after the
announcement of funding for a Remote Presence Neurosurgical Robot for the Cape
Breton Regional Hospital through a gift of almost $400,000 from donor Joe
Shannon of Cape Breton to the QEII Foundation. The remote presence robot will
enhance patient care by linking physicians and patients in Cape Breton with
neurosurgeons at the QEII who will provide emergency neurosurgical
consultation for the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.
    "This is good news for our District," says John Malcom, CEO of the Cape
Breton District Health Authority. "We are very grateful to Mr. Shannon for his
generosity. We are also thankful that he recognizes that this is a valuable
tool to support the delivery of emergency care here on the Island. It's an
exciting innovation and another example of technology complimenting our health
care services. It effectively reduces the distance between a patient here in
Cape Breton and the Neurosurgeon in Halifax."
    Dr. Ivar Mendez, Head of the Division of Neurosurgery at the QEII, and
Chairman of the Brain Repair Centre, lauded the remote presence robot as a
significant technological development. "This technology will allow us to
provide neurosurgical expertise in real-time where neurosurgeons are not
available. This will enable us to save crucial time in making decisions for
patients who require urgent neurosurgical care in remote locations."
    The remote presence robot serves as the neurosurgeon's eyes and ears.
From any location with an internet connection, neurosurgeons can connect to it
via a laptop computer to assess and diagnose a patient, provide instruction to
local physicians and monitor recovery. The QEII Health sciences Centre and the
Cape Breton Regional Hospital have the only two telepresence robots in Canada.
    The remote presence robot for Cape Breton will impact people like Gerry
Gray, a recent neurosurgery patient at the QEII Health Sciences Centre whose
access to a remote presence robot was life changing. On September 16, 2007 the
robot at the Halifax Infirmary was part of a consultation for surgery to
correct a tremor Gerry had experienced in his hands for 39 years. "The nurse
came in and said Dr. Mendez was there. In wheeled the robot with Dr. Mendez's
smiling face on the screen. He greeted me with a 'good evening Gerry,'" said
Gerry. "After about 30 seconds, the strangeness of it was gone. It didn't
matter physically where the doctor was." Through the use of the robot,
Dr. Mendez was able to display a photo and illustrate for him where the
neurostimulator implant was destined. "My wife was so amazed. She had some
questions and Dr. Mendez was able to answer them right then and there and
allay her nervousness. It was an incredible experience," recounts Gerry. Gerry
is now tremor free, from a neurological condition which has plagued his father
and several brothers. "Other than a battery change every four to five years,
I'm good to go."




For further information:

For further information: Steve Jennex, Communications Director, QEII
Foundation (902) 473-5591; Lynn Gilbert, (902) 567-7760; For information on
the Brain Repair Centre: Joann Tusia, (902) 473-7293


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