Amy Jo Parish
Contributing Writer

A night of celebration has the potential to positively change the lives of patients at Sparrow Eaton Hospital (SEH) in Charlotte. The annual hospital gala has historically been a time of celebration and fun. This year, however, the gala has the opportunity to help transform patient care at the hospital.
Ticket proceeds from the gala, held back in September, have been designated to benefit the robotics program at Sparrow Eaton. The robotics program, formed just six months ago, will use the $6,197.30 donated to further the use and education about robotic advancements in the health field and how they can best be used at the hospital.
Dr. Troy Ferguson heads up the robotics program and has worked to integrate a state-of-the-art Da Vinci robotic system into regular use at the hospital. The system, according to literature from the company, translates the surgeon’s movements at a specially designed console in real time to tiny, wristed instruments that move like a human hand. Those instruments have a greater range of motion and reduce the number of incisions needed. For all the bells and whistles of the system, Ferguson explained, it accomplishes one overall goal – improving the quality of patient care.
“It will help with recovery and healing, along with surgery technique,” said Ferguson. “Patients will be able to return home faster, return to work faster, and it will lessen pain.
“The patient will be helped, the patient’s family will be helped and their work-life will benefit. There are global benefits with this type of technology.”
The Da Vinci system will be used most often in general surgery procedures, including hernia, gall bladder and OBGYN procedures. The 2016 annual report, the most recent available on the hospital’s website, details that 3,378 surgical procedures took place.
Attendees of this year’s gala were able to use a prototype of the system and experience, for a moment, what it feels like to be a surgeon during a procedure.
Dana Pray, who serves as experience coordinator for Sparrow Eaton, explained this is the first year gala ticket proceeds have been donated to a program. Gifting the funds to a program that is working to integrate technology in order to improve patient recovery seemed a natural fit, said Pray. The 2019 gala featured heavy appetizers, a cash bar, a silent auction, musical entertainment and other events.
Ferguson has worked with the hospital since 2013, after working there during his residency, and said when it came time to find employment, he was drawn to the hospital due to the community. This donation, he explained, is just one example of how the staff and community work to embrace the mission of the hospital to “improve the health of the people in our communities by providing quality, compassionate care to everyone, every time.”
“I fell in love with the community,” said Ferguson. “It has been amazing to see the growth, not only the brick and mortar but with the patients and people.
“The support from the community has been unbelievable. The people make the difference and that’s what I love best about working here.”