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11th annual One Night, One Diamond to fund robotic surgery equipment


FORT DRUM — Because the Samaritan Auxiliary recognizes that health care technology advances quickly, its members have decided the proceeds of its upcoming major fundraiser will benefit further investment in the daVinci Robotic Surgery Program.

Proceeds of the “One Night, One Diamond” fundraiser from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. March 23 at the Fort Drum Commons will fund the purchase of more trays of equipment for the hospital’s $2.5 million robotics system.

“They wanted to have this equipment available to do additional surgeries,” said Irene C. Carman, event chairwoman. “The turnaround time isn’t as quick as other surgeries.”

Samaritan spokeswoman Krista A. Kittle said that is because one cart of equipment is shared among participating specialty physicians. More trays of equipment means less wait time between robotic-assisted and other surgeries since different specialties and procedures may require different tools.

Mrs. Carman, wife of Samaritan Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Thomas H. Carman, said that while the auxiliary typically has a hard time selecting an item from the hospital’s approved capital budget to fund, choosing to support robotics-assisted surgery was easy. She said that was because robotics is new and exciting to the community.

Not all cases in urology, gynecology, general, thoracic or otolaryngology surgery will require, or be eligible for, assistance of the daVinci system. However, urologist Alejandro R. Rodriguez, director of robotics and minimally invasive surgery, said more than 40 surgical cases have been completed with the daVinci system since November. Since Jan. 1, two surgeries with the system have been scheduled weekly in urology alone, he said.

“We’ve done all major procedures using robotics,” said Dr. Rodriguez, chief of urology and urologic oncology. “It’s been a total success.”

The system allows the physician to perform more precise surgery with smaller incisions and less bleeding. Patients also heal faster.

The hospital also recently acquired a simulator so robotics-trained physicians can practice with the equipment.

Dr. Rodriguez said the cutting-edge technology of the robotics system is now fully equipped at Samaritan, and the 253-member auxiliary’s help will further enhance the service.

“One Night, One Diamond” will feature dining, dancing to music performed by Atlas and a chance to win a half-carat diamond donated by Waterbury Fine Jewelers, Watertown. Guests also may win a two-night getaway donated by Lake Placid’s Mirror Lake Inn.

Presenting sponsors include Dr. Deborah Norris and her husband, Lawrence; Purcell-Lecesse Construction and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan. Media sponsors include 7 News WWNY/Fox 28 WNYF and the Watertown Daily Times.

Top sponsors include Coca-Cola Co., F.X. Caprara Car Companies-the Caprara Family, Hancock Estabrook law firm, KeyBank, Pepsi of Watertown, Renzi Foodservice and Waste Management. Dozens of other sponsors also support the event.

Tickets are $150 per couple and should be reserved by March 13. Tickets can be purchased at the gift shop inside the hospital, 830 Washington St.

For more information, visit

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