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How Ontario put the future of operating-room robots in question

The patient, a 70-year-old man with high-risk prostate cancer, was a Jehovah’s Witness.

His religion was one of the reasons he decided to undergo surgery at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, home to a robot named da Vinci whose steady metal hands can remove a prostate with scant risk of the blood transfusions forbidden by the man’s faith.

On a recent afternoon, the patient laid unconscious on an operating table as surgeon Bobby Shayegan and his team plunged a camera and three robotically controlled surgical instruments through small incisions in his abdomen.