Pontefract husband and wife first in Yorkshire to have weight loss surgery using robot at Dewsbury Hospital

Mike Hirst, 40, and his wife Julie, 50, both from Pontefract, are the first patients in Yorkshire to have weight loss surgery using a robot.
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The couple, who are on a weight loss mission for their grand kids, were both cared for on the same ward at Dewsbury Hospital.

Mike had a gastric bypass and Julie had a sleeve gastrectomy, which are both surgical treatments for people who are severely obese, who have already started to lose weight, and agree to adopt a healthy lifestyle for the future.

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The couple even received their surgery appointment letters on the same day at home and were staggered when they saw their operations would happen just one day apart.

Julie and Mike Hirst following their surgeries.Julie and Mike Hirst following their surgeries.
Julie and Mike Hirst following their surgeries.

Mike said: “We couldn’t believe it when we read it!”

He added: “My wife had started her weight loss journey four years ago and was all set to have her surgery then, but covid hit and the surgery was understandably delayed.

“She did amazingly well to maintain her weight loss and she never gave up hope, despite the setback. On the other hand, I only started my weight loss journey 18 months ago, but it’s going great.”

The happy couple’s motivation for having weight loss surgery is to be fit and healthy in the future for their grandchildren.

Mike Hirst before and after the surgery.Mike Hirst before and after the surgery.
Mike Hirst before and after the surgery.
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Mike, who admits he is quite young to be a grandad, said: “I want to make lots of memories with the kids and I want to be around to see them grow up. This surgery has given me the best chance to do that.”

Mike has already seen a significant amount of weight drop off, and says he is hopeful for the future.

So much so, he has committed to running the Great North Run in September.

He says since the surgery he’s more active, does 10,000 steps every day, and feels fantastic.

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Mike is also full of praise for the surgical team at the Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust, which covers Dewsbury Hospital as well as Pontefract and Pinderfields Hospitals.

He said: “The surgery went great and the level of care I received was exceptional. I don’t know if it’s because of the robot, but I seem to be healing up quickly and I feel better than ever.”

Miss Rupa Sarkar, the Consultant Upper GI and Bariatric Surgeon at the Trust, said: “I’m pleased their surgeries went well. Any operation for high Body Mass Index (BMI) patients is challenging, as is their care and recovery afterwards.

"The robot allows us to perform more complex bariatric procedures safely, and the bonus is that patients recover quickly and with significantly less discomfort.”

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Mike has since launched a JustGiving page for his Great North Run, where he has already reached 75 per cent of his £350 target, which will be donated to a UK guide dog charity, via: www.mikesbypass.run

His weight loss journey can also be followed through his Instagram: bypassinggrandpa.