500th Robotic Surgery for Memorial Specialty Care Surgeon

Judi McDowell-Humphrey, 69, of Mt. Zion, survived tonsil cancer more than 20 years ago. Today, with help from Memorial Specialty Care surgeon Ranjodh Singh, MD, the avid scuba diver is beating colorectal cancer and planning a scuba trip with her husband to Honduras for early 2023.

“I was in great health and not feeling sick at all, but I had blood in my stools,” Judi said of her initial symptoms this summer. “I did what you are supposed to and went to my regular doctor, who recommended I go straight to Dr. Singh.”

Dr. Singh recommended a colonoscopy which showed a large mass in the rectum, but came back negative for colon cancer. He suspected rectal cancer and scheduled another colonoscopy to obtain more samples, which also came back negative. However, Dr. Singh was confident the mass was cancerous and recommended surgery to remove it.

“At this point, I just wanted the tumor out of me,” Judi said. “Dr. Singh ordered a third colonoscopy and then scheduled laparoscopic surgery after that. He’s done hundreds of colon and rectal surgeries and is the top surgeon in the area for this type of cancer.”

Dr. Singh used an advanced minimal invasive surgery approach using a robot, which delivers 3D high definition views. It was his 500th robotic surgery. The robot gives surgeons a crystal-clear view of the surgical area, which is magnified ten times more than what the human eye can see. He then used tiny instruments that move like a human hand but with far greater range of motion and smooth precision. Once removed, the tumor was found to be cancerous, but the lymph nodes were clean.

Four weeks post-operation, Judi feels good, and everything has returned to normal for the most part. She’s babysitting her niece’s three children and will start scuba diving again in late fall or early January.

“We’ve got two nurses in the family and a nurse practitioner so they keep a close eye on my recovery,” Judi said. “Dr. Singh’s office has amazing people – so caring and great on follow-up, too. Everything in the end turned out great. He’s an excellent surgeon, and we even got him to try scuba diving!”

Meet Dr. Singh in this short video. His work has been integral in helping Decatur Memorial Hospital be named as part of the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer.

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