DeTar Healthcare Center's surgical robot dubbed 'Victar'


June 10, 2010 at 1:10 a.m.

Hunter Perkins

Hunter Perkins

Hunter Perkins perched on a seat inside DeTar Hospital North's lobby, his eyes gazing into a viewfinder.

And, as he maneuvered joysticks, a flat-screen monitor showed the machine's small robotic hands delicately grasping tiny colored bands.

The machine, one of the hospital's newest surgeons, was a daVinci Si, a robot used in surgical procedures. And, like any other surgeon, it has a name: Victar.

Hunter came up with the name, a combination of Victoria and DeTar, as part of the hospital's "Name Our Robot" contest. The hospital announced the name Thursday.

DeTar opened the contest to students in kindergarten through 12th grade and got a variety of responses, said William R. Blanchard, chief executive officer of DeTar Healthcare Systems.

R2DeTar was among the top choices - and Blanchard's favorite - but the company found it too cutesy and wondered whether it carried copyright issues.

Another name, Vector, also made the list. The letters stood for "very expensive, complex toy for the OR," but the company decided against that because the robot was more than a toy. So Victar it was.

Hunter's mother, Melony Perkins, said she was excited to hear of her son's win, but not surprised. He's an imaginative kid, she said.

"His brain constantly works that way," said Perkins, a health promotion coordinator at Dow Seadrift Operations.

Hunter had seen the contest commercial several times and batted around a couple of ideas. One of the front runners, she said, was "Surgio."

"I liked that one," Perkins said, smiling. "I think that was my favorite, just because it was so appropriate."

As part of his prize, Hunter received $100 for himself, which he said he'll save up for future use, and $100 for his school, Victoria East High School. The 14-year-old athlete has requested that money go to the school's baseball booster club.

Hunter plays third base and pitcher.

The robot, an approximately $1.5 million investment for the hospital, has already been put to work, Blanchard said, explaining it has carried out four surgeries this week. It carries its share of patient advantages, such as less pain, smaller incisions and less blood loss than other surgical methods.

Dr. Charlie Jaynes, who was the first surgeon to use the machine at DeTar, said it's a big leap from the 2-D screens surgeons were used to with typical laparoscopic procedures.

The new machine, which will be used primarily by gynecologists and general surgeons, offers a highly-detailed 3-D view.

One thing's for sure. It got Hunter's approval.

"It was easy," he said of his trials with the robot. "And it's pretty cool."



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