What Is Robotic Assisted Surgery?
Intuitive Surgical created the da Vinci surgical system to perform minimally invasive surgeries using a robot with four mechanical arms. The human surgeon sits at the da Vinci console and views a monitor which shows what the robotic arms are doing. The surgeon makes hand gestures to control the robotic arms as they perform the surgical procedure and, according to davincisurgery.com:
“Your surgeon is 100% in control of the da Vinci System at all times. Da Vinci technology translates your surgeon’s hand movements into smaller, precise movements of tiny instruments inside your body.”
However, numerous patients or their survivors have filed lawsuits alleging da Vinci surgery caused them or their loved one serious injuries or death. Da Vinci surgery problems include:
- Severed blood vessels
- Punctured/ damaged internal organs
- Bleeding/ Hemorrhage
- Damage to bowels
- Severed nerves
- Sexual impotence
During robotic surgery the surgeon looks at the monitor on the console and the robot is blocking the doctor’s view of the patient’s body. Therefore, when the machine malfunctions the doctor is unaware that the robotic surgical instruments, for instance, severed a blood vessel or poked/ burned a hole in somebody’s intestines.
Sometimes the internal damage isn’t known until days after surgery, when the patient expects to enjoy the purported rapid recovery from “minimally invasive” surgery, but begins to experience symptoms like infection and chronic debilitating pain that has no apparent cause. The victim may go from doctor to doctor and nobody is able to diagnose and treat it. Doctors could be slow to make the connection between robotic assisted surgery and the symptoms and/or injuries, since problems have been underreported by Intuitive Surgical, Inc and doctors themselves have been inadequately trained to perform da Vinci robotic surgery.
A da Vinci Surgery Law Firm Can Takes on Manufacturers and Hospitals
The da Vinci surgical system is a big investment for hospitals, costing between $1.5 and $2.25 million per system, and the hospitals may be looking to make their money back. “Minimally invasive” surgery is seen as cutting edge by hospitals and they may promote this surgery without warning of possible injury due to machine malfunctions.
Some of the lawsuits filed allege medical malpractice because the surgeon may not have been adequately trained to perform, for instance, robotic prostatectomy or robotic hysterectomy. Many of the surgeries are successful, but it’s a gamble for patients, especially when the hospital’s da Vinci surgery system has been used frequently and for years, so that the parts are beginning to wear out.
Despite reports of injured patients and machine malfunctions Intuitive Surgical, Inc has been promoting the surgical robots aggressively, pressuring hospitals to allow or require surgeons to perform robotic surgeries after minimal training. The company was issued a warning letter for the federal crime of Misbranding, for failing to report patient injuries or warnings they’ve sent to hospitals about dangerous malfunctions to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
What Are Some da Vinci Surgery Problems and Serious Consequences?
In July 2013 the FDA issued a warning letter to Intuitive Surgical, Inc. stating that the firm is not in Compliance with safety standards and failed to report Class II Recall warnings they issued to doctors to the FDA. The letter listed the da Vinci System models IS1000, IS 1200, IS 2000, and IS 3000’s Tip Cover Accessory and Cannula 8mm Regular as Adulterated Devices.
The problems included intra-operative (during surgery) cleaning of scissors which has led to patient injuries, and “arcing through damaged tip covers that caused patient injuries” (electrical currents from the device burning patients internally during surgery) and also misbranding, for failing to report patient injuries from malfunctioning devices to the FDA. Had the problems and recall warnings been reported to the FDA, the federal agency may have posted an official warning to doctors and patients on its website, or pursued further action to insure patient safety.
Are da Vinci Robot Lawsuits Growing?
According to a 2014 report in Lexis-Nexis Legal Newsroom, Intuitive put aside 67 million dollars to settle about 3,000 claims where plaintiffs were injured by the da Vinci surgical system. That amounts to around $22,000.00 per injured plaintiff. This may be a minimal amount to make somebody go away (not pursue further legal action) who has suffered a horrific, painful and debilitating injury or who has lost a loved one.
If you or somebody you love suffered any:
- infection, or
after robotic surgery using the da Vinci surgical system, or if you are not sure whether your chronic pain or mysterious symptoms are connected to an injury from the malfunctioning surgical robot, or worse, if your loved one died after a da Vinci robotic surgery, you should talk to an attorney immediately. The medical community is not always forthcoming about an injury they may be held legally liable for.
There is a statute of limitations for filing a civil lawsuit, which could be tolled from the time you knew about your injury. What this means is that even if it has been a few years since you had the da Vinci robotic surgery, if you didn’t know the da Vinci surgical system caused your medical condition or injury, the time limit for filing your lawsuit does not begin to run until you are fully aware of what happened to you (that you were injured by the malfunctioning robot).
Isaacs & Isaacs skilled and aggressive Medical Device attorneys have decades of experience going up against big companies like Intuitive who have injured and killed patients in disregard of federal law. We believe people (individual, unique human beings: corporations are not people) are more important than some unethical, greedy corporation’s bottom line.
We don’t think you should have to pay for justice. The company who hurt you should have to pay, and we are not afraid to go after them, no matter how much money they have.
We will represent you on a contingency fee basis–we don’t get paid until and unless you are awarded a fair, just and reasonable settlement or award of damages for your:
- Pain and suffering;
- Financial loss, past, present and future;
- Medical bills;
- Perhaps other damages.
Our dedicated staff of da Vinci Robot lawsuit attorneys are on call 24/7. Contact us now at 800-800-8888 for your free case evaluation.