Violet Mendivil

Lakewood Regional Medical Center’s own Violet Mendivil, Human Resources Coordinator, became quite sick in July, 2014. Every time she ate, she was ill, had chills and pain and was getting run-down. Sitting at her desk, she struggled with the pain and heartburn she was experiencing. “Dealing with the pain and having to come to work was difficult,” she said.

Finally, Mendivil met with a gastroenterologist at Lakewood Regional Medical Center. He ran tests and diagnosed Mendivil with a gallbladder condition. He recommended a cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) with the da Vinci Surgical System®.

This minimally-invasive, robotic-assisted procedure has the potential results of having less bleeding, less pain, shorter recovery time and tiny incision site compared to traditional surgery. The da Vinci Surgical System® robot is controlled from a computer console manned by the actual surgeon. The robot is equipped with tiny tools and the ability to translate the surgeon’s movements into smaller, more precise movements for the actual surgery. A special visual guidance system allows the surgeon to see exactly what he’s doing, and he is in control of the surgery at all times.

It was an easy decision for Mendivil to make. “I went with my surgeon’s recommendation. I had heard about the da Vinci System®, but I hadn’t seen it, prior to my surgery. I saw it for the first time as I was going into surgery,” said Mendivil. Seeing the robot for the first time was interesting to Mendivil, especially knowing that it would simplify her surgery. “Instead of the three incisions that I would have had with the other kind of surgery, I just have one tiny scar.”

Mendivil missed about 2 ½ weeks of work for recovery. She experienced some pain for a week, but after that, she was feeling much better. “I’m happy everything went well and was quick and now, six weeks later, I don’t have any pain anymore,” she said.

According to Mendivil, if you are putting off your necessary surgery and are reluctant to trust the robotic-assisted surgical system, “you should just do it because you’ll feel so much better.”

For more information about the benefits of the da Vinci Surgical System® and to obtain a physician referral, call Lakewood Regional Medical Center at (562) 531-2550 or visit us at