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Donald Latif's Story

"This was the easiest operation I ever went through."

Don Latif is a self-employed master plumber in the Bennington, Vermont, area. It's hard for him to be out of work for a long period of time, even when the diagnosis is cancer. When Don learned he had prostate cancer and needed surgery, his wife went to the computer to begin research.

She quickly uncovered two important facts: First, robotic-assisted surgery was ideally suited to some prostate treatment since it typically involved less blood loss, smaller incisions, a shorter hospital stay, and a quicker recovery. Second, Jonah Marshall, MD, a urologist at Berkshire Medical Center, specialized in robotic-assisted surgeries and has extensive training in the use of the da Vinci® Surgical System for urological procedures involving the prostate and kidneys.

"That was key," Don said. "I liked the idea of robotic assisted surgery, but I wanted a physician who specialized in the practice. We met Dr. Marshall and we thought he was great."

The surgery was performed a week before Thanksgiving and Don's outcome was excellent. "I told Dr. Marshall before they put me out that I wanted to see the machine," he said. "It was pretty impressive."

Don said his hospital stay was perfect. "BMC was awesome," he said. "They got me up to walk the night of my surgery and they checked in on me constantly. The worst part of the whole procedure was the catheter, and once that came out, I felt pretty good."

He was back to work in two weeks, though Dr. Marshall warned him "not to overdo it."

"I understand that people who have more conventional forms of prostate surgery are out of work for eight weeks or even longer," Don said. "It really was amazing how quickly I recovered. I can't speak highly enough of Dr. Marshall."

Don has broken a number of bones in his life, requiring three surgeries on his hand and one on his knee. "And no one wants to get cancer," he noted. "But this was the easiest operation I ever went through."

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