Robotic Surgery Changes Boy’s Life After Drunk Driving Accident

“Is it time for surgery yet?” Robert Harris, a 9-year-old boy, begged his surgeon to take him into the operating room.

“I don’t know many kids who are as excited about surgery as Robert was,” says Tracey, his mom.


The Harris family car was hit head on by a drunk driver.

But for Robert, this surgery would mean more independence. Just a year prior, Robert played on his bike before jumping into the car with his family, and the next thing he remembers is waking up in a hospital. A drunk driver hit the Harris family’s car head on, and Robert suffered a complete spinal cord injury.

“He went from an active boy to being told he would never walk again,” says Tracey.

Because of the injury, his bladder could not empty on its own anymore. Dr. Patricio Gargollo performed a complicated reconstructive robotic procedure to allow him to empty his bladder through his belly button.

Robotics is an amazing tool that allows us to do all the suturing in a very fine space where hands would not fit unless you made a big incision,” says Dr. Gargollo.

Today Robert is a happy-go-lucky 12-year-old who takes everything with a grain of salt.


Robert during his stay at Children’s.

“He has come a long way in four years,” says Tracey. “After the accident, I did everything for him. Now, it has gotten to the point where he doesn’t need help getting in and out of his wheelchair, brushing his teeth or showering. His independence level has soared beyond anything I could have imagined. He doesn’t let that chair stop him.”

Watch the video above of Robert’s journey through robotic surgery.

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2 Responses to Robotic Surgery Changes Boy’s Life After Drunk Driving Accident

  1. Fatima June 12, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    God bless you and your family Robert!!!

  2. Sebastian Tietzel June 12, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    all the best for Robert! Greetings from Germany!

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