New surgical robots receive funds through college foundation

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — The University of South Alabama foundation board has approved $4.6 million to the university including funds toward new surgical robots.

Around $1.7 million of the total funds will be used toward two DaVinci surgical robotics systems, Al reported . Health officials at the university said the systems would have a major impact on the school’s medical center.

The medical center will get one of DaVinci’s new Xi models, and USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital also will get a Xi to replace its older Si model.

“This is equipment that is much needed,” Dr. John V. Marymont, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine at USA, told the foundation board. Such systems have become “more and more the standard of care,” he said.

“It also has a huge component in education,” Marymont continued, explaining that USA’s medical school students need experience with such systems. “It’s now becoming a requirement. … to have robotic training,” he said.

Allocations included $1,735,049 to the South Alabama Endowment. A foundation representative said that amount, and a similar amount foundation leaders expect to approve at the next semi-annual meeting in June, will pay for the two robots.

The foundation’s semi-annual contributions totaled $4,609,556. It’s spread across several dozen scholarship funds, professor endowments and support funds. In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the foundation gave a total of $9.6 million to the university.

Dr. Michael Finan, director of the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, said the robots are not fully automatic, but are operated by a conventionally trained surgeon.

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