Top sur­geon: I’d never let risky ro­bots op­er­ate on MY heart

Daily Mail - - News - By Eleanor Hay­ward

ONE of the world’s lead­ing car­diac sur­geons has warned he would never al­low a ro­bot to op­er­ate on his heart be­cause sev­eral cases have ended in dis­as­ter.

Pro­fes­sor Stephen Westaby said he would choose ‘the stan­dard saw up the mid­dle of the breast­bone’ over risk-laden ro­botic heart surgery.

The sur­geon, who has per­formed more than 12,000 op­er­a­tions in his ca­reer, said the ad­van­tages of us­ing ro­bots dur­ing heart surgery are ‘very small in­deed’ and urged cau­tion in rolling out ro­bots across the NHS. His com­ments came af­ter an in­quest heard Stephen Pet­titt, 9, died af­ter pi­o­neer­ing heart surgery us­ing the Da Vinci ro­bot ‘spi­ralled out of con­trol’.

Speak­ing on BBC Ra­dio 4’s To­day Pro­gramme, Pro­fes­sor Westaby, 70, added: ‘The small­est of mis­takes can cas­cade into dis­as­ter.’ How­ever, Dr Patrick Fin­lay, a biomed­i­cal en­gi­neer who founded a ro­botic firm, said 4,500 such ro­bots car­ried out op­er­a­tions safely ev­ery day.

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