Manchester Memorial Hospital to Serve as the New England Regional Robotic Surgery Training Site for Colorectal Surgeries

Manchester Memorial Hospital (MMH), an affiliate of Eastern Connecticut Health Network (ECHN), has been designated a colorectal robotic surgery Epicenter by Intuitive Surgical, maker of the da Vinci robotic surgical system. As an official Epicenter training site, colorectal surgeons from across the state and nation will visit the ECHN Colorectal Robotic Epicenter periodically to observe and learn from Epicenter colorectal surgeon David Walters, MD, and the MMH Perioperative Robotic Team. Dr. Walters is highly skilled in the use of the da Vinci technology for colon and rectal surgery. He has been recognized as one of the leading robotic colorectal surgeons in the country and designated as an Epicenter surgeon.
Manchester Memorial Hospital performs the largest number of robotic procedures east of the river. The hospital’s multispecialty robotics program includes colorectal, urology, gynecological, and general surgical procedures using the minimally invasive da Vinci technology. MMH, which has two da Vinci surgical systems, is the first colorectal Epicenter in New England and one of seven in the U.S.
“I have been associated with ECHN for well over 20 years as a colorectal surgeon,” says Dr. Walters. “That association has been very fruitful for both of us in that I can do any procedure here that I do anywhere from the simplest to the most complex.”
“We are very honored and ecstatic over this Epicenter designation,” says Linda Lemire, MS, RN, NEA-BC, Assistant Vice President of Patient Care Services. “Intuitive is extremely selective about choosing a robotic surgery program to serve as an Epicenter training site for colorectal surgery. Dr. Walters is a leader in his field in terms of experience, overall volume and quality outcomes. Although Dr. Walters could have chosen another hospital to perform the colorectal robotic surgeries, he chose MMH because of its dedicated robotic surgery program and highly skilled and dedicated perioperative robotic team. ECHN is committed to continually improving the health and well-being of the communities we serve through the pursuit of excellence in healthcare and state-of-the-art technology.”
The da Vinci Si Robotic Surgical System allows surgeons to use a minimally invasive approach in complex procedures with increased precision, versatility, and control. As a result, patients benefit from shorter hospital stays, faster recovery, less pain and scarring, decreased blood loss, and lower risk of infection.
MMH was also the first hospital in Connecticut to acquire the most current da Vinci® Si™ Surgical System with Firefly technology. The robot provides the surgeon with enhanced visualization of the surgical site through 3D magnification, enhanced dexterity for manipulation and dissection of tissue, and greater precision. 
“Being an Epicenter means surgeons and their teams can come to MMH and observe best practices both of the institution and of me doing surgery,” says Dr. Walters. “I think that is fabulous recognition of the community and of the institution’s dedication to teaching. It gives me a great opportunity to do what I love, which is teaching.”
MMH had its first visiting surgeon, Jonathan Blancaflor, MD, from Middlesex Hospital, on March 8.