For five years, Calhoun resident Mary Ellen Van Horn lived with two different obstructions in her right ureter, the duct connecting her right kidney to her bladder. She put off surgery as long as she could, but when the temporary stents that had been placed in the ureter shifted, the ensuing complications and pain prompted her to finally deal with the problem surgically.
Van Horn was admitted to AdventHealth Gordon, where she underwent a corrective procedure in December 2021. The surgery was performed by Hak Lee, MD, with the da Vinci Xi robotic-assisted surgery system.
“It was a very serious surgery. I could have lost that kidney,” Van Horn said. “Dr. Lee didn’t know if I would lose it or not until he got in there, but with the robotic procedure, my recovery time would be better.”
Fortunately, Van Horn’s operation, which involved severing and rerouting the obstructed ureter, was successful.
“I bounced back pretty fast. I was walking that afternoon,” she said. “I was in the hospital for four days, and the pain management there was great. I was driving again in two weeks.”
Patients undergoing robotic surgery also benefit from nurse navigators who work closely with each patient and their family members every step of the way, from scheduling to discharge and beyond.
“Once they’re at home, I call and check on our patients almost daily for several weeks to ensure they are healing properly and getting back to normal as quickly as possible,” said Hannah Holland, RN, Dr. Lee’s nurse navigator. “Dr. Lee strives for above-average outcomes by closely monitoring and following each patient, and my main goal is to treat our patients like they’re family, not just a number.”
Van Horn found such connection points to be invaluable during the recovery process.
“Hannah called me several times a day, and I could call her anytime I needed her,” Van Horn said. “I even called her on a weekend, and she contacted Dr. Lee and then got back with me really fast.”