05th Mar 2012
New Delhi- The Vattikuti Global Robotics 2012 Conference, the first of its kind featuring multispecialty surgical practice, is now over. The 3 day conference had over 350 attendees from across India. Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the Deputy Commissioner of the Planning Commission of India, was the inaugural speaker: “This is an example of not just making history, but making history that touches the lives of ordinary people”, he told the audience.
Nearly 60 faculty from around the globe shared their expertise with lectures, discussions, and 8 interactive live surgeries, that were observed from the conference in New Delhi. These robotic surgeries were performed at VFRSI partner institutions. The delegates had the ability to ask the team in the operating room about what they were watching live- many miles away.
“We’re just beginning to see the difference.” Dr. Mani Menon told the conference. “As sure as I am standing here, you will see the difference yourself, and you will magnify the difference.” Menon, the “Founding Father” of robotic surgery, as labeled by Time magazine, talked about his developing many of the procedures used today in robotic surgery. He also challenged the attendees: “What will you be able to do? What will the gynecologic surgeons, the ENT surgeons, vascular surgeons, the transplant surgeons, the liver surgeons be able to do? I think the future is bright. It is the tip of the iceberg.”
Raj and Padma Vattikuti were praised by several of the speakers for their efforts. Raj shared more of his goals and ideas stating- “We feel, eventually, India will be the innovation center for the robotic surgery.” He encouraged the participants: “The key thing is- for institutions to believe in it, surgeons to believe in it. You don’t need everybody to adopt it; you need to focus on the areas which can really make the difference using the robotic surgery. In no time you will be able to make this very viable and economic model.”
Another highlight of the conference was the availability of a da Vinci robot that participants could get hands-on experience- some for their very first time. Raj Vattikuti explained the robot to Dr. Ahluwalia, who earlier had acknowledged Dr. Menon for giving him his first insight into robotic surgery.
“The dream of the Vattikuti Foundation, the whole basic mission is that economic disparities do make us to live different kinds of lives. But in health, it is one of the most miserable situations.” Foundation C. E. O. Dr. Mahendra Bhandari explains. “Even the poorest of poor, should get the best of medical care. That is the mission of the Foundation.” One of the Foundation goals is to move robotic surgical technology into the public hospitals in India.
Ryan Rhodes from Intuitive surgical, the developer of the da Vinci robot, presented Dr. Mani Menon with a Lifetime Achievement Award. (Look for more in the videos section soon on this site).
The Vattikuti Foundation Robotic Surgery Institute has several partner hospitals: Henry Ford Hospitals and Providence Hospitals in Southeastern Michigan (Detroit); OLV Hospital, Aalst, Belgium; Medanta, Chennai; Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai; KIMS, Hyderabad; Apollo, Chennai; Manipal, Bengaluru; and Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata. (The last six all in India). (Quotes compiled from Conference video coverage)