Hey, does this really look inanimate to you

April 4, 2010
Text Size:

It turns out that the da Vinci robotic surgery machines at two West Michigan hospitals are female, and they have names — their own da Vinci code — thanks to a little irreverent hospital humor.

At Spectrum Health, which has one da Vinci, and Saint Mary’s Health Care, which has two, the machines are nameless. “It’s a serious piece of surgical equipment,” Saint Mary’s Vice President Micki Benz explained.

At Holland Hospital, the machine for minimally invasive surgery is known as Ivana, just like the former wife of a certain real estate mogul.

“We have a robotic coordinator who is quite funny … so the staff came up with it,” said Kathy Shaneberger, director of surgical services.

At Metro Health in Wyoming, no one will own up to naming Audrey, spokeswoman Ellen Bristol said, although the robot is apparently named after a rather aggressive fictional flower. Bristol passed this missive along from those who know Audrey best:

“When she first arrived, she resided in clinical engineering for a time while we did our robotics training. Audrey is somewhat disjointed. Her brain (the console) is separate from her eyes and ears (the visioning tower), and all are separate from her arms (the patient cart). Her various parts are connected by her nervous system (the blue, green and red cords).

“One day, near the end of our training and as we were about to move her into her new home in operating room 9, we noticed that there was a sign on her eyes and ears cart that read ‘AUDREY.’ There was also a sign on her forehead (the surgeon console) that had a quote from the movie ‘Little Shop of Horrors,’ which stated something like: ‘Does this look inanimate to you, punk?’ This quote was also signed ‘AUDREY.’

“No one in clinical engineering admitted to doing this. No one in the O.R. or the physicians admitted to this. The only conclusion we could draw was that Audrey woke up one day in clinical and decided to tell us her name. We thought it best not to argue with her.”

Kent County’s three hospitals have da Vinci robots courtesy of the Tom and Micki Fox Family Foundation, which donated millions for them.

GVSU ponies up with GVMC

On the same day that many high school seniors learned whether they were admitted to the college of their choice, Grand Valley State University found out it officially was admitted as a freshman member of the Grand Valley Metro Council. The unanimous vote last Thursday to admit the university was historic as GVSU became the council’s very first higher education member.

GVSU will sit at the big table as a non-voting member and pay a flat annual membership fee of $5,000, which will be prorated at $2,803 for the remainder of the council’s fiscal year. Counsel Tom Butcher will be the university’s representative.

“My selection of Tom is not for his ability as an attorney, although he is a fine one. Rather, he is a quick study, creative problemsolver and strategic, long-range thinker who has my complete trust and confidence and serves on my senior management team,” said GVSU President Thomas Haas in a statement.

Butcher will be sworn-in at the council’s May meeting.

Dialing in the big ‘Fix’ 

The Michigan Department of Transportation’s use of social media to communicate with motorists continues as a new project video was launched last week at a groundbreaking ceremony for the reconstruction and widening of I-196 in downtown Grand Rapids.

The new video, available on YouTube at www.youtube.com/MichiganDOT, features project details and commentary from Mayor George Heartwell, City Manager Greg Sundstrom, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce President Jeanne Englehart, Grand Valley Metro Council Executive Director Don Stypula and The Right Place Inc. Vice President of Business Development Rick Chapla.

The $40 million project will add four lanes to I-196 between the Grand River and Fuller Avenue, replace and aesthetically enhance five bridges, and create and sustain approximately 500 jobs.

The Fix on I-196 is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

I-196 will be closed to through-traffic as of April 12. Two lanes will be open in each direction by August, and all lanes will open to traffic by November.

For more information, visit the MDOT project Web site at www.michigan.gov/I-196 or receive project updates by following The Fix on I-196 on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/mdot_i196

Area banker fires back

Art Johnson is a “real” banker’s banker, and he’s opposed to the Congressional proposals for preventing future situations in the financial industry like those that hurt so many consumers in the last two years.

“Maybe we ought to tinker a little bit and improve the consumer protections” that apply to “the traditional banks. But we really need to overhaul those (organizations) that were not covered by banking regulations,” said Johnson.

Johnson is not just the chairman and CEO of United Bank here in Grand Rapids; he is also the chairman of the American Bankers Association through October. He will be on the panel Tuesday morning at a special program put on by the GVSU Seidman College of Business called “Financial Crisis and Proposed Regulatory Reform.”

“We’re the ones that are real banks,” he says of the ABA. It is the financial industry’s largest trade association, representing 95 percent of the industry’s assets, and is allied with 50 state bankers associations. Johnson defines “real” banks as those that offer consumer savings accounts insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., banks that have “rigorous” examinations every 18 to 24 months by federal officials.

He said he has heard that a government analysis indicates that as much as 94 percent of the risky mortgages that are a prime suspect in the financial crisis “originated outside of depository institutions.”

Under the current proposals, the burden of the changes in increased protection of consumers “falls on the deposit institutions, not on the other institutions where 94 percent of the problems came from. Well, that’s just silly,” said Johnson.

Congress, he said, is considering a new Consumers Financial Protection Agency that would have “more authority than any government agency that’s ever been proposed before, with no sort of oversight.”

One of the key goals expressed in Congress is to end the “Too-Big-To-Fail” scenario that had a desperate federal government loaning $182 billion in bailout funds to American International Group, an insurance giant almost felled by the collapse of the mortgage derivatives market.

The ABA also wants to see the end of “Too-Big-To-Fail” by creation of a mechanism to “unwind” systematically important institutions, and also wants to “fill the gaps in the regulation of non-banks” — as Johnson has pointed out.

The Seidman College breakfast lecture runs from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Loosemore Auditorium of the DeVos Center on Grand Valley's Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register, visit www.gvsu.edu/business/events, or call (616) 331-7100.

Recent Articles by Business Journal Staff

Editor's Picks

Comments powered by Disqus