Darlington mother's 'Da Vinci robot' surgery is UK first

Gemma with baby Finlay

Gemma Walker, from Darlington, is the first person in the UK to have a tumour removed from the main airway of a lung with the use of the 'Da Vinci robot'.

Gemma was pregnant with her second child when she was told she had a tumour on her lung. Because of the delicate nature of the proposed operation, and the usual methods of tumour removal, she was told that her surgery would have to wait until the baby had been born.

The left lung had to be disconnected from the rest of the airways and then stitched back together after the tumour had been removed. Surgeons say this is impossible with the usual method of 'minimally invasive lung surgery' and so it was decided to use the 'Da Vinci robot' which can delicately stitch, something that was needed for Gemma's case.

The 27 year-old was put under the care of cardiothoracic consultant Joel Dunning who wanted to treat Gemma with the Da Vinci robot at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

Baby Finlay was born six weeks early and was home four weeks later – five days before his mother went into hospital for an innovative operation to remove a carcinoid tumour from her lung.

Gemma is recovering well.