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Victoria McGlone

Victoria McGlone, daVinci Robotic Surgical System

It is was the last phone call she wanted to receive before leaving on vacation, but when the telephone rang, Victoria McGlone, 60, set aside her packing, took a deep breath, and picked up the phone. “The polyp is cancerous,” she heard her gynecologist say from the other end of the receiver. Mrs. McGlone had uterine cancer.

But in a testament to her joyful spirit, Mrs. McGlone figured, “what could I do about it then and there?” so she finished packing and left the next morning for a fabulous holiday in Woodloch Pines, Pennsylvania. But when she got back she got right to work, finding an oncologist, as her gynecologist had instructed. “When I sat down and looked in my insurance company’s provider book, I was completely overwhelmed. There were lists of doctors from all over the state of New Jersey. It was too much. I just closed the book. I needed another strategy; I needed a referral from someone I trusted.” And it was from the doctor of a family member that she got the name of Constantine Gorelick, M.D., gynecologic oncologist at New York Methodist Hospital.

“At my first appointment with Dr. Gorelick,” Mrs. McGlone remembers, “I was impressed with his thoroughness. I would begin to tell him something I thought was irrelevant and stop myself, but he would encourage me to continue; he said he ‘wanted to know everything.’ And he explained things to me with the same level of detail. It was one of the few times I didn’t leave the doctor’s office saying to myself, ‘What just happened?’ I felt calmed, not overwhelmed.”

“Dr. Gorelick suspected that the cancer was in the early stages, but felt that a full hysterectomy and, potentially, the removal of lymph nodes in the area would be the prudent course of action. He said he hoped, the cancer had not spread beyond the uterine lining, but if it had, we’d cross that bridge when we got there. There would be a pathologist in the operating room with us to immediately assess the tissue.”

Dr. Gorelick recommended that Mrs. McGlone’s surgery be performed using the Hospital’s daVinci surgical system. The system consists of a minimally invasive robotic device that is wholly controlled by the surgeon. For the surgeon, this offers enhanced visualization, increased precision, and better control. For the patient, the ”robot” offers a minimally invasive procedure with significantly less pain, minimal blood loss, a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery than traditional “open” surgery, and it is often less invasive than even laparoscopic surgery. Using the robotic surgical system, Dr. Gorelick performed a hysterectomy on Mrs. McGlone with a resection of pelvic and para-aortic lymph nodes. Dr. Gorelick is the only surgeon in Brooklyn using the robotic surgery approach for this complex procedure.

“Mrs. McGlone was able to go home and sleep in her own bed the night after the surgery,” says Dr. Gorelick. “I have had patients go shopping and go to a wedding within a few days of surgery; that’s how noninvasive it is.”

Mrs. McGlone adds, “I was sore, sure, but within a few days, I able to resume my normal activities. I would see friends and they couldn’t believe I had just had surgery—they were impressed by how good I looked and how comfortably I was walking and going about my business, and I was certainly impressed by how good I felt.

“It turned out that the cancer had spread beyond the inner uterine lining, into the wall of the uterus, but it was confined to that area—the lymph node biopsies showed no evidence that the cancer spread beyond my uterus. I am cancer free! I feel blessed to have had Dr. Gorelick as my surgeon and to have had the opportunity to have him perform my surgery using the robotic device. I am very, very grateful.”

Read more real life patient stories in the 2011 NYM Annual Report.