For Immediate Release February 21, 2024

Dr. Don Arnold

A team approach is paramount in robotic surgery as OR staff meticulously prepare for each procedure.

“I was very much at peace because I not only trusted Dr. Arnold, but also SIH has always been my go to. I am a retired nurse myself and was very appreciative of the lengths SIH went to in order to take care of me locally,” said Mary Luke of Goreville.

Today, Mary is cancer-free thanks to a concerted effort between SIH urological and bariatric specialists. Mary's case was complex and marked the first time urology and bariatrics operated in tandem.

“For referring providers, don't assume we can't do something difficult. Give us the opportunity to tell you whether or not we can get it done,” said Dr. Don Arnold, endourologist and chief of surgery at SIH Herrin Hospital and SIH Memorial Hospital of Carbondale. "This shows what can happen when we all work together and put the patient first."
Commitment to Care: Developing Positive Patient Experiences

Diagnosed with a cancerous kidney mass, Mary needed surgical intervention. Mobility and co-morbidities added to the complexity of her case. That's when Dr. Arnold reached out to the bariatrics team at SIH Herrin Hospital. Ultimately, Mary would undergo a successful robotic nephrectomy at SIH Memorial Hospital of Carbondale.

“Due to the patient’s weight, I consulted with bariatric surgery to determine the best surgical approach, specifically with regards to placements of the trocars, which are devices placed into the body that allow us to perform minimally invasive procedures. I wanted to make sure they were done optimally as this has a tremendous impact on patient outcome…you want to make sure you get that part perfect. The bariatric team, which primarily operates at Herrin Hospital, agreed to be present for the surgery at Memorial,” said Dr. Arnold.

Teresa Roach, perioperative professional development registered nurse at Memorial, recalled the staff’s thorough preparations. She credited Materials Management for researching bed weights, the OR team for brushing up on bariatric patient anatomy and Same Day Surgery for ensuring they could accommodate the patient’s needs.

Dr. Arnold compared the team effort to a NASCAR race.

“You have someone looking from above talking to someone on a microphone. The person on the microphone talks to the driver. The driver speaks to the pit crew. They all have to be working on one accord in order to win the race. It was the same with our surgery. The only difference is we had two drivers, or surgeons. The OR supervisors (who allocate the resources) were the people from above speaking to our schedulers. We - the drivers – talk with everyone in the operating room, or the pit crew. The drivers have to hand off to each other perfectly to keep the car going and on the track. And then the pit crew – the OR staff - made sure we got the instruments when we needed them for everything to work smoothly. We had to coordinate all of that in real time to make sure the patient had a great outcome,” explained Dr. Arnold.

Kathy Kappa, certified surgical first assist at SIH Memorial Hospital, said the operating room team works as one.

“We all know what’s expected for the doctor. Everybody does their part and more,” said Kappa.