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$1 million in local donations funding hi-def camera technology at Health Sciences Centre


A Winnipeg surgical team is performing a rare transplant operation that it is sharing with other surgeons, locally and abroad, with the help of new high-definition technology.

Dr. Tom McGregor, a transplant surgeon at Health Sciences Centre, described the procedure Wednesday at a ceremony acknowledging local donations totalling $1 million for the high-def OR cameras and monitors.

It involves removing a patient's kidney, then excising any tumours and replacing the reconstructed organ back into the patient's body - all in about three to four hours.

The operation - performed only about 30 times worldwide, including three times in Winnipeg - has been performed at HSC.

"That's not a routine procedure. We do that procedure when the patient is at risk of losing their full renal function," said McGregor, who showed video from the surgery at a news conference at the hospital.

The surgeon said the elaborate procedure helps to preserve as much of the kidney as possible. The extracted kidney is flushed with a special preservative fluid and cooled down. Once the tumour is removed, the organ is reconstructed and transplanted back into the patient.

"We're being noticed worldwide for the things that we do here," said McGregor. "We truly do have surgeons here who are doing rare procedures and (have) very advanced skills."

Now, thanks to a $1 million donation from the Health Sciences Centre Foundation, the hospital is able to record these advanced techniques to teach residents and nurses and to demonstrate the skills to the outside world.

The donors who raised the money include: the Riley family, James W. Burns, Paul Challoner and Brian and Ruth Hastings on behalf of Qualico.

Dr. Perry Gray, HSC's vice-president and chief medical officer, said the new high-definition equipment will aid in the surgical procedures themselves, helping teams perform tasks and monitor procedures where success or failure can be measured in mere millimetres.

He said the four newly equipped operating rooms will also allow surgical teams to demonstrate their skills in a safe manner without too many people crowding around an operating table.

"The pictures from high-definition cameras in the integrated operating rooms can be beamed right into the classroom," Gray said, referring to a room at the hospital. "This opens exciting new education opportunities for us."

Gray said the new HD cameras, which capture the OR action from various angles and shows how team members interact, will also be used by staff to see where they can improve.

"To use a sports analogy. It's like reviewing the game tapes after the game. With multiple cameras and multiple views, the team has the potential to review what they did, what it looked like," Gray said.

The new equipment will also allow a charge nurse to monitor the progress of surgeries in the four operating theatres from a screen at her desk, ensuring patients awaiting surgery are prepared at the appropriate time, increasing efficiency.

$1 million in local donations funding hi-def camera technology at Health Sciences Centre



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