Patient names racehorse after robot that performed his cancer surgery!

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It’s not unusual for hospital staff to have their efforts recognised by a kind letter, a thank you card or even a cake.

DaVinci Dawn

Patient David Barker with Macmillan bladder cancer specialist nurse Dawn Watson and urological surgeon Jo Cresswell (left-right) with racehorse DaVinci Dawn at Ann Duffield Racing

But David Barker has gone one step further by naming his racehorse after the robotic equipment used to treat his bladder cancer and the Macmillan nurse who supported him.

Mr Barker of Northallerton, underwent leading-edge robotic surgery at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and was amazed to be back home just five days later.

Following the success of his operation he decided to name his yearling racehorse DaVinci Dawn after the da Vinci robot and his specialist nurse Dawn Watson.

“I spent two months looking for a name and then all this happened,” said Mr Barker, who described the treatment he received throughout as “fantastic”.

da Vinci robot

The da Vinci robot

“The da Vinci did a good job on me so hopefully it will be good for the horse as well!

“Looking back opting for the robotic surgery has been the best decision. I never dreamed I’d be out of hospital in five days after an eight-hour operation.”

The da Vinci robot has revolutionised surgical treatment by making it possible for surgeons to perform minimally-invasive surgery with greater precision and control than ever before.

It uses tiny instruments, controlled remotely by the surgeon sitting at a console. The surgeon has the benefits of 3D vision and hand and foot controls to control the micromanipulators, which have a greater range of movement than the human hand.

DaVinci Dawn

Macmillan bladder cancer specialist nurse Dawn Watson, patient David Barker, urological surgeon Jo Cresswell and jockey P J McDonald (left-right) with racehorse DaVinci Dawn at Ann Duffield Racing

Urological surgeon Jo Cresswell who performed the procedure said: “The robot is now in use at James Cook every day of the week for a range of bladder, prostate, gynaecological, colorectal and thoracic procedures.

“It’s great for patients as they can get home from hospital much faster. Traditionally patients would have required open surgery and would have been in hospital for around 10 days, with robotic surgery they can be home in half that time.”

The Cutting Edge Fund and South Tees Hospitals Charity helped bring robotic surgery to Teesside in 2014 and this advanced treatment has already benefitted around 250 patients this year.

Dawn Watson, Macmillan bladder cancer specialist nurse added: “It’s a great honour to have a racehorse named after you! There were lots of us involved in Mr Barker’s care and the whole team was very excited when he announced the horse’s name.”

Based at Ann Duffield Racing near Leyburn, the bay filly is by the very popular Poet’s Voice and out of the five times winner Bonnie Brae.