Ali Hudgens and Jaxon Dynneson.

San Juan Regional Medical Center’s da Vinci Xi Robotic Surgery System has a new name. “Vinny” was selected out of 160 submissions from school children across the Four Corners. The winning name was submitted by two different students at Farmington’s Hermosa Middle School.

Ali Hudgens, seventh grader, and Jaxon Dynneson, eighth grader, were recognized at a ceremony at San Juan Regional Medical Center on November 17. Two of the surgeons who are currently utilizing the robotic system during surgery were on hand to talk about its benefits.

“We are all united around this technology and our patients are seeing the benefit as well,” said Dr. Philip Ernest, General Surgeon. “With the assistance of the Da Vinci, we are now able to offer surgeries that previously would have been referred out to another facility, allowing our patients to stay right here at home.”

“The best surgery is the one your surgeon is most comfortable with, and for the new generation of surgeons coming in, this is what we are most comfortable with,” said Dr. Stephen Mannas, Urologist. “It can exceed our human abilities to do certain procedures and we are excited to bring that to Farmington.”

As part of winning the contest, Ali and Jaxon received a number of prizes, including tickets to local family attractions, a San Juan Regional Medical Center commemorative coin, plaque, and the opportunity to visit the Operating Room and see Vinny in person.

“We are fortunate to offer robotic technology for the patients in our community and are excited to share our enthusiasm and passion for healthcare with the next generation.  We would like to say thank you to Ali and Jaxon for coming up with Vinny’s name, and to showcase the many possibilities a future career in healthcare can bring,” said Starla Barela, Surgical Services Director.

Vinny is now being used across a spectrum of minimally invasive surgical procedures at San Juan Regional Medical Center, with plans to expand the offerings in the near future. To learn more about the da Vinci Xi, visit