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Just three days before Christmas, John Guarracino was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Since the biopsy results showed that 75 percent of his prostate was infected, he considered treatment in Westchester or Manhattan. After taking a moment to process the news, Guarracino asked Praneeth Vemulapalli, MD, urologist and surgeon at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital, “If this was your father, what would you do?”

Dr. Vemulapalli responded that he would tell his father to have the robotic surgery at St. Luke’s, stay close to home, and not worry about traveling into New York City. He assured Guarracino that the da Vinci Robotic Surgery provided advanced technology, eliminating the need to leave the area for treatment.

The intricacies of the high-technology da Vinci Surgery System are described as featuring “a magnified 3D high-definition vision system and tiny wristed instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human wrist. As a result, da Vinci enables your surgeon to operate with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control.”

Armed with the knowledge that St. Luke’s was state of the art, Guarracino took Dr. Vemulapalli’s advice. Dr. Vemulapalli and the da Vinci robot worked together to remove all of the cancer. Guarracino says his recovery went smoothly and he was never in any significant amount of pain. He was even released from the hospital a day after the surgery.

After only two months, Guarracino was 100 percent back to full activity and cancer free. Thinking back to his care at St. Luke’s, Guarracino says, “Dr. Vemulapalli, I can’t say enough about him. Excellent surgeon. He saved my life.”

Now you can find Guarracino back on the golf course in full swing.


St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital (SLCH) is a not-for-profit healthcare system committed to serving the needs of those in the Hudson Valley. With dedicated staff, modern facilities, and high-quality care, SLCH provides comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services to the community. SLCH is a Level III Trauma Center and operates one of the busiest Emergency Departments between New York City and Albany, with just under 5,000 visits per month at the hospital’s Newburgh campus.

In 2014, SLCH became the only hospital in New York State to achieve the Healthgrades Patient Safety Excellence Award for four years running. SLCH was also named one of the Top Hospitals in NYS by U.S. News & World Report. As healthcare delivery continues to change, SLCH is focused on the Triple Aim: learning to work more efficiently, better coordinating services among providers, and delivering safe, high-quality care within the walls of the hospital and out in the community.

St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital
www.stlukescornwallhospital.org
www.facebook.com/stlukescornwallhospital

Newburgh Campus
70 DuBois St.
Newburgh, NY
845-561-4400

Cornwall Campus
19 Laurel Ave.
Cornwall, NY
845-534-7711


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John Guarracino