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State Representative Cynthia Soto

On Monday, March 30th, CMS conducted another successful Legislative Mini-Internship hosted by Enrico Benedetti, MD, Head of the Department of Surgery at University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago. The Interns that participated were honored guest State Representative Cynthia Soto and surprise guest, Barry Maram, Director of Healthcare and Family Services of Illinois, formerly the Department of Public Aid. The Legislative Mini-Internship Program matches legislators and civic leaders with physicians for one day. The Representative and the Director shadowed CMS Member Dr. Benedetti through a live-donor kidney transplant and participated in rounds and a tour of the Walter Payton Liver Center.

Dr. Benedetti performed a robotic kidney transplant using the da Vinci surgical system. Representative Soto and Director Barry were able to watch Dr. Benedetti move the robotic hands on the 3-D screen. After the donor kidney was removed, Dr. Benedetti led his guest into adjacent operating room to prepare the donated kidney for the awaiting recipient. Representative Soto and the Director were able to witness the entire process from donor to recipient.

During the tour of the Walter Payton Liver Center, the interns were able to visit patients on the floor and interact with the staff. This allowed Representative Soto and the Director to have a first look at the additional duties of being a surgical physician.

The morning’s activities stimulated ideas and conversation between physician and intern. The conversation brought to light issues that the Director and Representative Soto decided were important to address immediately. After returning to Dr. Benedetti’s office, the interns and Dr. Benedetti held an impromptu conference call with the Director’s office staff in Springfield, IL. Dr. Benedetti was able to express his opinions and concerns regarding transplants within Illinois. Many concerns were heard and the Director set up an additional meeting with his staff for the following day to brainstorm creative solutions to Dr. Benedetti’s concerns.

All parties considered this a successful Mini-Internship and valuable program. Representative Soto and the Director were impressed with the opportunity to witness a robotic kidney transplant. Dr. Benedetti was able to generate discussion to his voice opinions, cares, and concerns regarding healthcare in Illinois.

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