Patient story: ‘Exceptional’ team helped prepare for successful robotic surgery

Reid Gardiner

March 10, 2020

In January 2020, a biopsy confirmed that Helena resident Reid Gardiner had kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma) in his right kidney. 

After consultation with his primary care physician Dr. Todd Wampler (President-elect of the St. Peter’s Health Medical Group), Reid was referred to St. Peter’s Health Medical Group urologist Dr. Kevin Brown.

“Dr. Brown seemed genuinely interested in me and my concerns. He went above and beyond in making sure I was comfortable with the plan of care, I was never rushed, and he promptly notified me of my test results and ensured that I understood them,” Reid said.

Although Reid’s cancer was isolated to his kidney, Dr. Brown saw a need for him to also see St. Peter’s pulmonologist Dr. William Krause, FCCP and anesthesiologist Dr. Joe Murphy ahead of the procedure. 

“Dr. Krause listened with concern and provided the necessary time for me to fully understand and address my health concerns,” Reid said. “I was also able to spend some very informative and beneficial time with Dr. Murphy who gave me ample time for questions and did not rush our meeting; he made me feel really comfortable as I had never been under general anesthesia before and was very uncomfortable with the idea. But he was concerned and caring and explained things well.”

Collectively, the three physicians helped make Reid feel prepared to have a successful surgery experience. On February 13, 2020, Reid became the fourth patient at St. Peter’s to undergo a radial nephrectomy surgery using the da Vinci Xi® robotic surgical system. Dr. Brown and his surgical team completed the surgery to remove the tumor.

The surgery resulted in four small incisions, each about one inch in length, as well as an additional three inch long incision. Patients who undergo robotic surgery often have shortened hospital stays and faster recovery times. Reid spent two nights on the St. Peter’s surgical floor before going home. Reid said that every staff member he encountered during his experience treated him kindly and compassionately, delivering world-class care close to home.

“Every member of the St. Peter’s care team not only met but exceeded my expectations,” he said. “From reception, housekeeping, dietary food service, they all were concerned and caring and demonstrated time and again that they strive to provide the best wellness program and experience to those whom they are attending.”