San Antonio area woman credits Methodist Texsan for lifesaving robotic heart surgery

Da Vinci robot procedure offers potentially quicker recovery, lower infection rate

SAN ANTONIO – The CDC reports that in 2021 about 695,000 people in the United States died from heart disease. That’s one in every five deaths.

For more severe cases of heart disease, open-heart surgery may be necessary. But what if there were an easier, less invasive, less painful and faster way?

“I had pain. I was already having pain to my neck. And I would be driving and I would have just pain right here and then in my back and my back. So it was, it was shock,” Sandra Esquivel; a robotic heart surgery patient said.

Esquivel said everything seemed to be under control until she learned she had a terrifying situation, a blockage in her artery.

“At first they didn’t exactly know. They just knew I had blockage. And then they told me that I had a major blockage. That was 75. But when they did that first procedure in the latter part of December, it ended up being 90,” Esquivel said.

Sandra’s artery was 90% blocked and that was the moment everything changed.

“They told my family because I was still kind of like knocked out. (They said) that I was a good candidate for the robotic procedure. And they explained it for me. The first moments, the first real moments were shock. I cried,” Esquivel said. “You have plans and then you get sick and you have the fact of almost losing your life or that you might lose your life.”

But then came Dr. Renata B. Ford and Methodist Texsan and the Da Vinci robot system.

“I was crying and emotionally upset, and Dr. Ford made me feel so comfortable, because she was there for me. She held my hand and she explained it to me,” Esquivel said.

Texsan used the robot to potentially save Sandra’s life.

“It’s because of this minimally invasive approach. You know, you can go into the side of the lungs between the ribs. You’re not having to crack the chest and open up the sternum. It’s a quicker recovery, lower infection rate, it’s quicker. These patients come in and go home within a week or so sometimes. So that’s so nice for them,” Richard Esquivel, director of surgical services at Methodist Texsan Hospital said.

The procedure is a huge development in the heart surgery field. However, it’s currently only offered on a case by case basis and for the right patients. It is a huge step though in the right direction.

“I get very emotional because I got my life back. It hasn’t been an easy process. You know, I went through a lot of suffering and pain, but I got my life back,” Sandra Esquivel said.

She said she is so thankful for her new lease on life. It’s a procedure that could help revolutionize the field.

“It’s amazing for Texsan and for South Texas. We are the only hospital in the division within Methodist Division that is performing robotic surgeries using the Da Vinci robot,” Richard Esquivel said.

As for Sandra, after her surgery just a couple months ago she is ready to enjoy what she has.

“Getting out there and enjoying and spending more time with my family. Just enjoying life. Taking a new vacation,” Esquivel said.

You can find more information on the procedure by clicking here.

About the Author:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.