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Celtics Star Joins Tufts Team

Celtics Star Joins Tufts TeamPaul Pierce pledged $2.5 million to expand the cutting-edge surgical center at Tufts’ teaching hospital that helped save his life. Boston.

Boston [01.24.03] Two and a half years after Tufts doctors saved Paul Pierce's life, following a knife attack at a Boston nightclub, the Boston Celtics star announced he will help expand the high-tech surgical center at Tufts-New England Medical Center that helped make his dramatic recovery possible.

"This is an opportunity for me to give back to the hospital that was there for me when I needed it," Pierce told Boston's WCVB-TV.

Speaking to reporters at a ceremony marking the opening of three new operating suites equipped with the futuristic surgical technology at Tufts' teaching hospital, Pierce pledged $2.5 million through his foundation to add four more suites.

"The new operating rooms are like something out of science fiction, as surgeons can speak to the voice-activated machines, ordering them to turn on more lights or perform other tasks, allowing the doctors and nurses to concentrate on the surgical tasks at hand," reported The Boston Herald.

Tufts doctors used the high-tech equipment to perform laparoscopic surgery on Pierce, saving the basketball star's life when he suffered severe stab wounds to his face, neck and back, including one that damaged his lung and abdomen.

"Using miniature cameras inserted through tiny incisions in his abdomen, the surgeons [led by Tufts assistant professor Dr. Roger Graham] were able to inspect the damage and then, using tiny surgical instruments placed through other tiny incisions, repair the injuries," reported the Herald. "The tiny incisions allowed for a quick recovery, and Pierce was back on the court within a month."

Without the innovative technology, Pierce would have been left with a much more difficult road to recovery.

"In traditional surgery, he would have been out much longer, suffered more pain, been left with a large scar and spend more time in the hospital, [the Tufts] doctors said," reported the newspaper.

Now fully recovered, Pierce told the Herald he was amazed at the high-tech equipment.

"That's advanced technology," Pierce said, as he used the equipment to pick up and move an object in a demonstration designed for teaching. "I did it the first time around."

The cutting-edge surgical suites are used with increasing frequency to treat a wide range of patients.

"Dr. Steven Schwaitzberg, director of the hospital's minimally invasive surgery center [and associate professor at Tufts' School of Medicine], said such techniques are now being used in all kinds of operations, including brain surgery and tumor removals," reported the Herald.


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