Three themes wind through the new documentary ''Cybersurgery'' from the Discovery Health Channel. Two of them explore cutting-edge technology in medicine. The third theme explores human nature. And it is this element that makes the hourlong show, which will premiere July 23, worth watching. (Check local listings for time.)
The story is that of Yale surgeon James ''Butch'' Rosser Jr., an expert in laparoscopic (minimally invasive) surgery and telemedicine -- the two technology themes presented. Rosser's dream is to make various laparoscopic surgeries available in parts of the world where health care lags badly behind large American teaching hospitals. During laparoscopic surgery, small incisions are made to insert instruments and a camera that transmits pictures to a monitor so surgeons can see their work.
The documentary follows Rosser as he teaches a particular procedure to a surgical team in the Dominican Republic while sitting in his office at Yale.
This turns out to be analogous to an air-traffic controller trying to guide a novice pilot out of the sky and to a smooth landing. And it is no less enthralling. At one point, Rosser, viewing the live procedure on his monitor and surrounded by students, becomes upset at the progress. The Dominican surgeon is attempting to forge a treatment for esophageal reflux disease by opening a window in the esophagus and pulling up part of the stomach into the space.
Given that teacher and pupil are on different continents, this makes for some tense moments.
But the patient fares well, and the members of the surgical team in the Dominican Republic clinic prove to be pros by the second surgery.
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