Hospital in Bulgaria using robots to help doctors carry out surgey

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The Saint Marina University Hospital in Varna is at the heart of a European project for personalised medicine. For this episode of Smart Regions, Euronews went to the hospital in Bulgaria to find out more.

The 1,300-bed university hospital is modernising its infrastructure to become a centre of competence and hi-tech research, within 5 years. The transformation has already begun with, among other things, the arrival in December last year of surgical assistance robots.

The Saint Marina University Hospital in Varna is at the heart of a European project for personalised medicine. The 1,300-bed university hospital is modernising its infrastructure to become a centre of competence and hi-tech research, within 5 years. The transformation has already begun with, among other things, the arrival in December last year of surgical assistance robots.

The machines mark a revolutionary change for the doctors because the robots will enable them to operate without being in direct contact with patients. Nikoa Kolev is the project coordinator and said:

“The feeling of operating with a robot is different from the sensations one has had so far in open and laparoscopic surgery. In fact, my personal feeling is that I can immerse myself in the patient’s body,” he explained.

The project has a budget of more than 12 million euros, 85% of which is provided by the European Union Cohesion Policy – and 15% by Bulgarian national funds.

As well as doctors, patients also benefit from the project, especially those suffering from urological diseases or abdominal pathologies, such as Atanas Demirov, who was operated on in June with cancer.

When it was explained to him that laparoscopy surgery had been carried out by robotic assistance, he was surprised.

“When Professor Nikola Kolev explained to me that this was new material, there’s nothing serious, don’t be afraid, everything will be fine. I gave my agreement and that’s it. I’m very happy with the intervention with the robot,” he said.

The university hospital is hoping to become a leader in its field with the work it is carrying out.