Dr. Salim Hawatmeh ’91 Demonstrates a Surgical Robot at MICDS

Robotics is revolutionizing how surgeons care for their patients, and Middle School students observed firsthand how the da Vinci Surgical Robot System works through a demonstration on campus by Dr. Salim Hawatmeh ’91.

Salim Hawatmeh, M.D., F.A.C.S., is a graduate of Stanford University, a Mayo Clinic Trained Urologist and expert in robotic surgery. His visit to MICDS was part of the Career Corner series, designed to showcase different professions and professionals as a way to help students better understand different careers options and how what they study now will be applicable in different careers.

Dr. Hawatmeh explained that using robotics in surgery has become the standard of care in the field of urology because it allows for extremely precise movements in very small parts of the body, and, because it is minimally invasive, results in less pain and faster recovery for patients. He demonstrated the precision of the robot by making an origami bird the size of a dime and completing sutures. „There is no greater feeling than performing a procedure you are spending your life perfecting,“ he said of his work.

Students volunteers Kate Oliver ’22, Arjun Ramakrishnan ’20, Kyle Fehr ’20 and Liam Weber ’21 each took a turn manipulating the robot and were able to pick up and turn over pennies, for example. Dr. Hawatmeh arranged for the robot to remain at MICDS throughout the school day so any interested Middle or Upper School students could practice using it during free periods.

Dr. Hawatmeh’s visit to campus also included a tour of McDonnell Hall and Brauer Hall and a visit to the Loeb Robotics Laboratory. „Everything I have achieved in life would not have been possible without the education I received here,“ he told students. „I encourage each of you to explore the STEM disciplines to discover what interests you.“

Interest in robotics has increased exponentially at MICDS in recent years, as students on robotics teams in Middle and Upper School participate in competitions and have opportunities to take courses on the subject.