McCoy Foundation donates $1.2 million gift to CTMC

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Special to the Star

On July 18, the Miriam and Emmett McCoy Foundation announced it would be donating $1.2 million to the Central Texas Medical Center to help the hospital purchase its second da Vinci Surgical System.

The robotic surgical system is a sophisticated machine designed to increase a surgeon’s abilities and present a state-of-the-art minimally invasive option for major surgery, according to the da Vinci Surgery website. The McCoy Foundation is no stranger to helping the CTMC hospital leave its mark as a leader in the community.

“The McCoys helped the hospital build its very first building in the 1980s,” said Sam Huenergardt, president and CEO of CTMC. “They are sustaining donors, and this year they decided they would help the hospital reach its yearly goals.”

The hospital already had a da Vinci surgical system in its possession, but it needs a second because the first one has become the busiest robot for surgeries in the central Texas area, said Erik Anderson, general surgeon.

“We should be receiving the second one in 60 to 90 days,” Anderson said. “We just have to prepare to make room for its large size. The robot itself stands about seven feet tall and about ten feet side to side and has a six-by-six box that I operate it from.”

The system can be used for multiple types of procedures, from gallbladder and hernia removal to weight loss surgery and hysterectomies, so the surgeons have been busy using da Vinci.

“The robot takes away any chance of human error,” said Patrick Arida, Telemedicine medical engineer. “The robot does all the motions you would with your hands so it does it perfectly—no mistakes. I have had the chance to work with these robots multiple times, and it really is something else.”

Patients have been going out of their way to have their surgeries done by this robot due to its excellent reviews, Huenergardt said. It has brought patients to San Marcos specifically seeking surgery with the da Vinci system.

“Patients have been known to wake up the next morning and be active because they feel great after the surgery,” Huenergardt said. “The robots do not tug on the muscles the way a human would, so patients don’t need extra recovery days.”

The robots cost $2 million, and CTMC received its first one over two years ago. CTMC is the only hospital in Central Texas with this kind of technology and has therefore become more popular, Huenergardt said.

Robots are used “constantly” for surgeries whenever possible, Anderson said.

“It’s basically like playing a video game when we perform these surgeries,” Anderson said. “It’s a $2 million video game that I get to work with every day.”

Robots have helped CTMC progress to where it wants to be as a hospital, Arida said.

“(The robots) have and will continue to allow (CTMC surgeons) to perform surgeries in ways they never could before,” Arida said. “It really is something that is impressive, and with donations like this McCoy one, they really could change a lot of lives.”