The Doctors' Doctor
World-renowned surgeon Dr. Vipul Patel works tirelessly treating and looking for a cure for prostate cancer.
For someone who has performed six demanding one to one-and-a-half hour surgeries today, Dr. Vipul Patel seems extremely chipper as he greets me outside his state-of-the art operating theatre on the fourth floor of Florida Hospital in the Disney-designed town of Celebration. It’s just after 3 p.m. and Patel, dressed in light green surgical scrubs and brown clogs, ushers me into a nearby conference room where he explains that he has one more surgery on today’s schedule – one of the more than 1,000 that he performs each year. “It’s good to take a break,” he says as we sit down. “I started operating at seven this morning.”
Today is a “pretty typical” day for the much-praised, 46-year-old surgeon who’s been called “a Michelangelo of surgery,” a “pathfinder” and – by the Orlando Sentinel – a “rock star” in the field of robot-assisted, prostate-cancer surgeries. Dr. Patel is a global expert on prostate cancer and has performed more than 9,000 robotic prostatectomies, considered the “gold standard for surgery.” Patients from around the country – and the world – come to Patel for treatment. Many of his patients, more than 500, have come from Vero Beach where he also has a weekend home at Windsor.
Patients usually see Patel after they have been referred to him by their urologists. “Generally they have already seen their doctor, a radiation specialist and an oncologist,” he explains. They have had biopsies that have indicated an aggressive form of prostate cancer and are considering a prostatectomy as opposed to radiation treatment or “watchful waiting.” Says Patel, “I am kind of the ‘last stop’ and I like to summarize their medical situation for them and give them a broad overview.”