UPMC Western Maryland Foundation Stories: Latest Life-Saving Technology


It’s called a robot, but it’s really the latest life-saving technology in the hands of a highly skilled surgeon. In spring 2016, RALS (robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery) was brought to UPMC Western Maryland. Tina Shockey, a busy working wife, and mother, was one of the first to benefit. After a routine lab test was deemed “suspicious,” further investigation confirmed kidney cancer. On June 28, Dr. Jason Riley used RALS to make 5 minuscule incisions (smaller than half the width of a penny), remove the cancerous tumor, save the kidney, and save her life. Tina was able to go home the next day. Had her diagnosis come just two months earlier, Tina’s options would have been limited to traditional, large incision surgery, or seeking care out of town. RALS technology is transforming surgery at UPMC Western Maryland, and the timing was life-changing for this local woman and her family.

Even with our remarkable, modern Regional Medical Center, we never want to say, “That’s good enough.” We are continually challenged to reinvent the way we work and to explore new approaches to providing care to our patients. The Health System’s commitment to Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Surgery is a commitment to providing the latest surgical advantages to our patients: Smaller incisions, extreme precision, less trauma to the body, less blood loss, lower risk of infection, fewer complications, shorter recovery time, less pain, and more procedures available locally.

UPMC Western Maryland has invested over $2.5 million dollars in the robotic surgery program, and the UPMC Western Maryland Foundation has committed to raising half that amount. As we continue to realize robotic-assisted surgery’s many benefits, hundreds of our friends and neighbors will have less suffering, and that means the world to us.