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Allenmykael Harlin-Gonzalez receives a lesson on the da Vinci Robotic-assisted Surgery System at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital. (Photo by Russ Carmack)
Surgeon gives young patient a hands-on lesson with da Vinci robot
A lifetime of managing the complications from the inherited blood disorder hemophilia has inspired 18-year-old Allenmykael Harlin-Gonzalez to pursue a career in medicine. In fact, it was during the high school senior's recent visit to the campus of Johns Hopkins University when he was captivated by the school's da Vinci Robotic-assisted Surgery System.
Back in Tacoma, the longtime patient of MultiCare Mary Bridge Children's Hospital didn't realize that MultiCare uses the da Vinci Surgery System -- four of them. When Mary Bridge staff members heard Allenmykael talking about his enthusiasm for robotics, they offered him a lesson with MultiCare surgeon Dr. Stephen Poore on the da Vinci robot inside an operating room at Tacoma General.
Not only did MultiCare pioneer daVinci robotic-assisted surgery in the South Sound, but MultiCare's robotic-certified surgeons have collectively clocked more hours doing these exacting procedures than anyone else in the area. MultiCare is one of only three Epicenter Teaching Centers for robotic-assisted gynecologic surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System on the West Coast, and one of 23 in the nation.
Despite spending so much time at Mary Bridge and missing class when he’s sick, Allenmykael has maintained a 4.0 GPA and is in the running to be valedictorian this year at Cascade Christian High School in Puyallup. After high school, he wants to attend college and major in pre-med. He said his interest in medicine was sparked by his experiences at Mary Bridge, and his desire to better understand his own condition.
“Growing up in the hospital, I’m really comfortable here,” he told The News Tribune, “and I’ve had good impressions, especially at Mary Bridge."