Dr. Robert Poston
Dr. Robert Poston

St. Francis Medical Center, Trenton, will begin American Heart Month by welcoming a nationally known specialist in robotic coronary artery surgery to its cardiac team.

Dr. Robert Poston, one of only a handful of cardiac surgeons in the nation to offer robot assisted minimally invasive coronary bypass surgery, will join the staff Feb. 2. He plans to use the da Vinci Surgical Robot to perform procedures in St. Francis, said Chris Walley, director of marketing and business development.

With the use of the robot, the procedure does not require the more conventional splitting of the sternum and results in less pain; less blood loss; a shorter hospital stay; fewer complications, and a faster return to normal activities according to a press release from the medical center.

Dr. Poston received his medical degree at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, Baltimore, and completed his research fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine. He completed his clinical cardiothoracic residency at the University of Pittsburgh.

Chief of the division of cardiac surgery in Boston University from 2008 – 2010, he served as professor and chief of the division of cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Arizona before joining St. Francis.

Walley said Poston’s arrival is part of the launch of a new re-branding of the cardiovascular program in St. Francis which includes the addition of the new hybrid operating room. It reflects the many new advances and capabilities that will be coming to the hospital and represent the medical center’s commitment to offering the best in care to residents in the Mercer County area and beyond.

This year will also see growth in community outreach efforts. It’s anticipated, Walley said, that these efforts will include a community-wide calendar hosted by the medical center’s web site – where wellness, health, civic and spiritual activities can be found with ease.

Along with quality patient care and hi-tech services, she said, the calendar will be one more way of conveying the message that “St. Francis is the gem in your backyard.”

St. Francis Medical Center is a member of Trinity Health, one of the largest multi-regional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 21 states with 86 hospitals, 109 continuing care facilities and home health and hospice programs that provide nearly 2.8 million visits annually.

At the annual community meeting last month, interim CEO and president Christy Stephenson and board of trustees chair Dave Knowlton stressed the medical center’s commitment to the community.

A great deal of emphasis was put on the hospital’s 140 years of service to the community. The hospital reported $14.6 million in community benefits – programs designed to improve the health of the community and increase access to healthcare.

The presentation also included the review of the numerous hospital community outreach programs such as health and wellness fairs, health education programs held in local churches and most recently, Breakfast with Santa. The health information portal called My Health was also explained to be a secure and safe way for patients to gain access to their medical records.

The presentation also included information about LIFE St. Francis, the program of all-inclusive care for the elderly, a division of St. Francis, that now cares for over 300 participants. LIFE St. Francis cares for seniors in an “all-inclusive” way across all setting with an inter-disciplinary approach to care.

Compiled by Lois Rogers