Dr. Obiekwe Performs 1,000th Robot-Assisted Surgery


One of Only Three OB/GYNs in Alabama Reaches Milestone



Last week, Njideka Obiekwe, M.D. marked a milestone in healthcare history for East Alabama Health as she performed her 1,000th robot-assisted surgery at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika. In doing so, Obiekwe became the first physician at EAMC, and only the third obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) in Alabama, to complete 1,000 robotic procedures.

Obiekwe, who serves as the Robotics Committee medical director at EAMC, performed her record-setting operation 3,913 days after she completed her first such procedure on Nov. 30, 2011. EAMC’s first overall robotic surgery was on March 29, 2010.

Just minutes after the 1,000th case, Obiekwe took a moment to reflect.

“Words cannot even express how I feel right now,” she said. “Incredible. Excited. Just unbelievable.”

Obiekwe went on to express her thanks.

“Of course, I owe everything to God, who gave me the strength and the guidance to continue to do what I do every day,” she said. “And to my fabulous patients who entrust me to care for them. And then to my amazing (robotics) team … they work tirelessly every day.”

   “This is a great day for Dr. Obiekwe and our entire robotics team,” said Laura Grill, president and CEO of East Alabama Health. “She has enthusiastically embraced robotics over the years and we’re proud of her for reaching this milestone.”

A total of 18 physicians covering such specialties as OB/GYN, urology, cardiac and thoracic surgery, general surgery and gynecologic oncology operate at EAMC using the hospital’s da Vinci Xi robotic system. Combined, they have more than 140 years of robotic experience and have completed more than 6,100 robotic procedures.

Stites Whatley, M.D., chair of the Department of Surgery at EAMC, expressed his appreciation of Obiekwe’s accomplishment.

“Deka is a strong proponent of robotic surgery for her patients, and her patients’ outcomes prove she is very skilled at performing such procedures,” he said. “Our surgical division teams congratulate her on being the first here to reach 1,000.”

About East Alabama Health:

East Alabama Health encompasses East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, EAMC-Lanier in Valley, the Spencer Cancer Center in Opelika, the Auburn Medical Pavilion and a host of other key medical clinic and practices that help provide a continuum of care to patients throughout an 11-county area. EAMC is a 314-bed regional referral hospital with a 26-bed Skilled Nursing Facility, while EAMC-Lanier provides inpatient services as well as a nursing home, an acute rehab unit and an ambulatory surgery center. East Alabama Health employs about 3,500 employees and is the second largest employer in the region, trailing only Auburn University. For more information, visit www.eastalabamahealth.org.


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