Authors: Jeff Martinez; Maria Katsigeorgis
Our very own Dr. David Samadi, Chairman, Department of Urology, and Chief of Robotic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital returned to Israel last month to follow up on patients he has treated and teaching techniques about robotic surgery. Following a tradition of surgical teaching, Dr. Samadi – a pioneer in robotic surgery – has previously traveled to Israel to share his expertise. In 2010, Dr. Samadi gave lectures and performed a live SMART (Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique) surgery robotic prostatectomy at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer. He has dedicated his time to mentor the Israeli surgeons in his technique at Lenox Hill and in return Dr. Samadi will visit Israel every few months to train the local surgeons. Using the Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique, has improved overall bringing the man operative time for prostatectomy to under 2 hours. This modified technique will not only save the surgeon time, but also make it possible for the patient to achieve continence rates of 97% and potency rates of 81% at 1 year while maintaining a 4% rate of positive surgical margins.
“This goes beyond the mechanical part of the robot. We are not robots, we have emotions and as a doctor I feel the patient’s pain when they come in for their first time and you see them cross the bridge when the cancer is gone”, says Dr. Samadi. In Tel Aviv, Dr. Samadi connected with the powerful feeling of his colleagues to the North and stated “In Hebrew, when you save one person’s life, you’ve saved the whole village.” By looking at this issue from a global stand point, doctors have the obligation to treat the patient and not only care for them with medication, but to treat their souls with compassion.
Three years ago, Dr. Samadi brought robotic surgery to Israel. “It was a great collaboration with all the scientist and surgeons”, stated Dr. Samadi. This time when Samadi visited Israel and in the last 3 – 4 years there have been over 400 patients that have come to be treated by Dr. David Samadi.
In one case Samadi discussed a patient that had a Gleason 10*, a very difficult cancer to manage. The patient had the highest prostate cancer possible and now he’s cured.
Dr. Samadi now has established the biggest prostate cancer support group in Israel. Hundreds came to the lecture in Israel to hear him speak, spreading prostate cancer awareness, highlighting preventative measures and the importance of getting PSA (Prostate-specific antigen) screened, considering that prostate cancer is the second most common cause of death, in men, from cancers. This gave the audience reassurance to the importance in PSA screening. A medical decision will not be made on a single lab value. Rather, the trend and velocity of PSA changes is key.
Not only is Dr. Samadi a prominent urologist and a pioneer in robotic surgery, but he brings empathy for each of his patients.
While Dr. Samadi is providing care for patients in Israel, north of Israel, Israeli doctors are providing medical care to wounded Syrians who are supposed to be their enemies. Dr. Masad Brahum, Head of the Naharia Medical Center stated, “There is a little plus to look at. This patient who was previously your enemy is now your patient and you are in a system that is democratic and wise enough to help people in harm regardless of who they are and where they are coming from.”
Dr. Samadi left us with this, “There is no such thing as an enemy. As a doctor, when you wear a white coat everyone is the same, you give 200% for each patient. Testimonials are the reason why we wake up every morning and go to work”.
* Note: Gleason is a system of grading prostate cancer tissue based on how it looks under a microscope. Gleason scores range from 2 to 10 and indicate how likely it is that a tumor will spread. A low Gleason score means the cancer tissue is similar to normal prostate tissue and the tumor is less likely to spread; a high Gleason score means the cancer tissue is very different from normal and the tumor is more likely to spread.