This week the Metropolitan Hospital of Santiago (HOMS), in the Dominican Republic, opened the first robotic surgery institute in the Caribbean. Named for Dr. David Samadi, a pioneer in robotic prostate surgery and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team, it is sure to draw patients from the United States as well from the Caribbean and South America.
Nearly one million Americans seek health care outside the U.S. every year. Medical tourism is increasingly popular in the Caribbean both in terms of its high quality, cost savings of up to 75 percent, and of course, you can’t beat the beautiful surroundings. The Dominican Republic has long been a tourist destination known for its inexpensive plastic surgery and dental procedures.
Now you can add to that the state-of-the-art Davinci robot which is like at avatar where the surgeon uses precision robotic arms to perform delicate procedures. Recovery with this kind of surgery is remarkable – you can get in and out of the hospital in a day. At a time when America is debating its health care future, our latest and greatest technology is still being exported.
Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina is opening the new facility along with Dr. Raphael Sanchez Espanol, CEO of HOMS hospital and, himself, a renowned surgeon.
“You’re going to change the lives of many, many people out there, and to be part of the first robotic institute in the Caribbean, this is a huge blessing and for the humanitarian part… for us to be part of this we’re very proud,” said Dr. David Samadi, chairman of urology and chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
The institute will include treatment of prostate, kidney, gynecologic and surgical cases. Doctors operating in the Dominican Republic will now be able to use techniques developed by Samadi, who performed the country’s first procedure, to treat prostate cancer as well as other delicate surgeries in a safer, more effective manner with minimal blood loss.
“Big decisions have transformed into small decisions,” said Dr. Espanol. “I like to say, with less trauma – the less trauma facilitates an amazing recovery of the sick.”
“This is a huge step in this country and it’s going to bring a lot of patients from the entire Caribbean to this hospital,” Samadi said.
And beyond the Caribbean, with more and more regulations and restrictions coming our way on American soil, many patients will look elsewhere for their surgeries. The new David Samadi Robotic Institute is one of the places they will be looking.
Marc Siegel MD is a professor of medicine and medical director of Doctor Radio at NYU Langone Medical Center. He is a medical analyst and reporter for Fox News since 2008. His upcoming book concerns a mysterious viral outbreak.