February 02, 2012

HARTFORD - Pioneer robotic surgeon Dr. Joseph “Peppie” Wagner performed Hartford Hospital’s 5000th robotic surgery February 2nd at 8:30 am. The patient, Litchfield native Daniel Clark is recovering well. In 2003, Dr. Wagner brought robotic surgery to Hartford Hospital, which became the first hospital in Connecticut to bring the da Vinci Surgical System into the operating room.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years. I was in Germany for the world’s first robotic surgery, and saw the first procedure in the US in Detroit. Here at Hartford, we performed our first case in 2003,” said Dr. Wagner. “There have been a lot of changes in robotic surgery over the past 12 years. But now in the US — 80-90 percent of prostatectomies are done with the robot. It has become the standard of care.”

The patient, Daniel Clock, is an insurance agent in Litchfield. Despite the recent controversy surrounding PSA tests, Clark believes in screening and hopes his story shares a message of prevention, reminding people that early detection is key. Clark’s PSA levels were slightly elevated and his physician suggested a biopsy which revealed he had prostate cancer. It was diagnosed at an early stage— and Clark opted to have
the robotic procedure to remove his prostate.

“I’m in good hands. It makes me feel much better that I know he knows what he’s doing—5000! I have a lot of confidence in Dr. Wagner,” said Clark. “I have a lot of friends who have been to him. If you’re going to have something done, you gotta go to the best!”

Robotic and minimally invasive surgery have transformed many procedures like prostatectomies, offering patients a faster recovery, a shorter hospital stay, and ower risk of complications. But the robot only as effective as the surgeon behind it. The robot doesn’t act on its own, highly skilled surgeons like Dr. Wagner are at the helm from start to finish.


About Robotic Surgery at Hartford Hospital.
Hartford Hospital is among the top ten robotic surgery centers in the country and is the largest in New England. Since the program began in 2003, it has grown an average of 33 percent annually. Hartford Hospital physicians now perform more than 1,000 robotic cases each year. The hospital has seven da Vinci robots. Physicians at Hartford Hospital use robotics for gynecological procedures such as hysterectomy, myomectomy and pelvic organ prolapse; prostatectomies and other urologic procedures; and cardiac procedures.

Hartford Hospital