PRMC shows off new robotics surgical technology during weekend visit from U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall

Ralph Hall 2014 2

PRMC chief executive officer Stephen Grubbs presents a memento to U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall (right) as Paris Mayor AJ Hashmi looks on.

Paris Regional Medical Center showed off its new da Vinci robot surgical system during a visit last weekend by U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall.

After speaking for almost an hour on Friday to an invitation-only gathering of community leaders, Hall toured some of PRMC’s most recent advancements, including the new surgical wing.

Hospital officials also noted a new 5-year affiliation with Baylor Scott & White Health, Texas’ largest not-for-profit health system.

“This partnership will provide us with advisory, expertise, continuing medical education opportunities, and enhanced emergency preparedness capabilities,” hospital chief operating officer Stephen Grubbs said.

“Now we have access to one of the top-tier health systems in not only the state but the country — right in our own back yard,” Grubbs said.

In introducing Hall, a hospital official said, “I know you’ve never heard this before, but we need your help in Washington.”

“You’ve got it,” Hall said.

Hall, who at 90 is the oldest member of Congress, noted that when he went on the job in Washington 34 years ago, he landed on a couple of important committees.

That was in large part, he said, because he had known U.S. Rep. Jim Wright, the House Majority Leader at the time “since he was 13 or 14 years old.”

Wright asked him what committees Hall wanted to be on.

Hall told him he would like to be on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce because of the importance of oil to Texas, and on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology because of the NASA space center in Texas.

“You’re on it,” Wright told him, twice.

“I was lucky. I just kind of fell into it,” Hall said of his good fortune to land on those two committees.

Hall praised PRMC’s facilities, saying how important a good hospital, good doctors and good nurses are to a community.

The hospital’s da Vinci surgical system arrived last month.

da Vinci technologyThe da Vince “robot” will allow surgeons to perform routine and complex surgeries using just a few small incisions, helping to speed up healing time for patients, hospital chief operating officer Steve Grubbs said.

Even though it is called a robot, the da Vinci system cannot move or operate on its own. The surgeon is in complete control 100 percent of the time.

After meeting with members of PRMC’s medical staff, the congressman himself took a spin with the robot. Using a practice model, he picked up a penny with the robotic arm.

The da Vinci technology features a magnified 3D high-definition vision system and tiny wristed instruments that enable surgeons to operate “with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control,” Grubbs said.

Surgeons can use the da Vinci system in some 1.5 million various surgical procedures to date, officials said.

“Technology like this requires a significant investment, but it’s one we’re more than willing to make, as it allows patients to have access to the most aqdvanced treatment options without traveling out of the region for care,” Grubbs said.

By Charles Richards, eParisExtra

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Charles Richards Charles Richards moved to Paris in 2004 after retiring from a 40-year career in journalism – the last 26 years as a news writer and sports writer with The Associated Press in Dallas and Washington, D.C. In mid-2004, The Paris News coaxed him out of retirement, and he began covering the police, court and regional beat for The Paris News. Then in early 2005, he was switched to coverage of a sharply divided Paris City Council. He was appointed by the City Council in 2006 to the 12-member City Charter Review Commission, which extensively rewrote the outmoded document. His writing awards include two first-place awards in statewide competition for feature writing. The most recent was his 2005 story on a Paris doctor’s startling use of leeches in a successful attempt to re-attach a man’s severed ear. Over his career, Richards’ interview subjects include Alabama Gov. George Wallace, President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, David Koresh, Arnold Palmer, Muhammad Ali and numerous other political and sports figures. He is an alumnus of Texas Tech, where he was editor of the school newspaper. He lives in Paris with his wife, Barbara, who is retired after 30 years as a teacher and high school counselor.