COLOMBO, May 14, 2018: U.S. and Sri Lankan surgeons conducted the first ever robot-assisted surgery aboard the USNS Mercy on May 4. The joint team of multinational surgeons and medical professionals successfully completed a cholecystectomy, or gall bladder removal, on a Sri Lankan citizen using a Da Vinci XI Robot Surgical System.
“This landmark surgery advances the boundaries of what is possible through collaboration, skill, and technology,” said U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Atul Keshap. “We are proud to partner with Sri Lankan medical professionals on this ground-breaking achievement for the international medical field.”
“This was the first time I have ever operated aboard a ship,” said Dr. Vyramuthu Varanitharan, a general surgeon at Base Hospital Mutur. “It is very stable and doesn’t move around. It felt as if I was doing surgery in an operating room in a hospital. It was a fantastic experience to have been able to do surgery on a hospital ship and it is something my team and I will never forget.”
Intensive planning and preparation resulted in a smooth and routine surgery. After the successful completion of the surgery, the patient transferred to the Mercy’s post-anesthesia care unit to recover and was later discharged from the ship in excellent condition for routine post-operative follow up care by Dr. Varanitharan.
Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multilateral disaster response preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. This year’s mission includes military and civilian personnel from Sri Lanka, the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Peru, and Japan. Pacific Partnership 2018 consists of more than 800 U.S. and partner nation military and civilian personnel working side-by-side with host nation counterparts to better prepare for potential humanitarian aid and disaster response situations.