Greenslopes’ patient becomes the oldest in Australia to have robotic surgery operation
Apr 30, 2021
A Brisbane great-grandmother is set to enter the record books as the oldest person in Australia to undergo robotic surgery.
95-year-old Heather Voevodin is back enjoying her daily walks, jigsaws and concerts after having surgery to remove colorectal cancer in November, at the expert hands of Greenslopes Private Hospital’s specialist surgeon Dr Joy Chakraborty.
Mrs Voevodin said given her age she had assumed her cancer would be untreatable but, after discussing the robotic procedure with Dr Chakraborty, she decided to “go for it”.
“I’m 95 and I was going to choose palliative care because I didn’t want to come out of a procedure and just be useless,” Mrs Voevodin recalled.
“But Doctor Joy was fabulous. He explained everything to me in such detail and I just thought, if anyone can do it, he can - so go for it!,” she said.
Dr Chakraborty removed Mrs Voevodien’s cancer, which had been blocking her bowel, using the state-of-the-art da Vinci Xi robot at Greenslopes Private Hospital.
“This technology allows us to offer people options to improve their life and we’re doing things we couldn’t do not so long ago,” Dr Chakraborty said.
“Heather, being 95-year’s-old, is the oldest person in Australia to undergo robotic surgery and it just shows that with the right care and the right patient, age really is just a number,” he said.
Mrs Voevodin has lived in Brisbane for all of her adult life. She has five daughters, 18 grandchildren and just this week welcomed her 22nd and 23rd great-grandchildren - twins born in London.
Mrs Voevodin’s daughter Rhonda Wakefield said the family wasn’t too surprised by her medical achievement.
“We just thought, how typical of mum, because we’ve always known she’s such a fighter,” Mrs Wakefiled said with a laugh.
“We’re so grateful to Dr Joy and all the Greenslopes team because they really did look after mum very well.”
Mrs Voevodin is pictured with her Greenslopes Private Hospital surgeon Dr Joy Chakraborty.