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Medical Malpractice: Da Vinci Robot, Would You Trust a Robot with a Scalpel?

New technology in medicine continues to improve the health and longevity of many patients.  But what happens when a new technology is adopted too fast and used by inexperienced or poorly trained doctors?  A Tennessee woman found out when she was injured as the result of a flawed robotic hysterectomy surgical procedure in 2011 done by an untrained surgeon.  Three years later she is still in severe pain and continues to suffer from disastrous injuries incurred during her da Vinci surgery including an anastomotic leak and a rectovaginal fistula, both of which required a second surgical procedure to correct.

The da Vinci robot employs the use of miniature surgical tools and is robotically controlled by a surgeon.  Injuries from this device have included lacerated or perforated organs, damaged muscles, torn blood vessels and severe perforated bowel injuries.  There have been 70 reported deaths from robotic surgery complications since 2009, according to Bloomberg News.

As well as the risk of injury from an inexperienced doctor this new technology puts patient’s security at risk as well.  A security audit was recently published that revealed to the public just how badly protected much of our current healthcare technology is. The firewalls of surgical robots in particular were easy to take down.

Recently, a safety alert was issued by the FDA announcing a Class II recall of two different components of the da Vinci surgical system.  The problem is that the instrument arms may suddenly stall and become stuck inside a patient’s body due to abnormal friction.  There are currently more than 70 products liability cases filed against the manufacturer in federal courts and dozens of others filed in state courts. Our medical malpractice injury law firm published a series of articles on the risks associated with robot surgical devices like da Vinci. Take a look at these articles here:

-Aggressive Da Vinci Robot Sales Reps May Have Contributed to Patient Injuries

-Should You Agree to Let your Doctor Use a Robot for Surgery?

-Surgical Robots and Medical Malpractice


Richard N. Shapiro
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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