AMERICUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Phoebe Sumter has purchased a modern surgical robot thanks to taxpayer donations.

The da Vinci surgical system was bought with contributions made to the hospital through the Georgia HEART (Helping Enhance Access to Rural Treatment) Hospital Program. 

The robotic system allows surgeons to perform procedures, operating through one or a few small incisions.  Physicians guide the instruments in real time through a console. It provides a greater range of motion than the human hand and delivers highly magnified, 3-D, high-definition views of the surgical area.

Physicians are undergoing training now and are scheduled to start using the da Vinci system in early May.  It will also be available to independent surgeons on the Phoebe Sumter medical staff.

“It will give surgeons the capability to perform some procedures, such as certain urological and gynecological surgeries, that we don’t currently offer,” said Jeremy Joyner, MD, a surgeon at Phoebe Sumter. “We’ll also be able to expand our bariatric services because we will no longer need two surgeons for each procedure.”

Phoebe Sumter CEO Carlyle Walton said, “We are fortunate to have so many generous people in our community who want to ensure that Phoebe Sumter is growing and advancing.”

Since the rural hospital tax credit program began in 2017, Phoebe Sumter has received more than $5 million in Georgia HEART contributions. The hospital has used those funds to purchase new technology and equipment, as well as on new services such as a cardiac rehabilitation gym.

The tax credit program allows taxpayers to direct their tax dollars to the qualifying rural hospital of their choice and get a state tax credit up to a certain limit.