- > ureter(s) cut
- > vaginal cuff dehiscence
- > organ puncture
- > internal burns
- > tears of intestines or blood vessels
Understanding the Risks Associated with the Da Vinci Surgical Robot
When the da Vinci Surgical Robot was first marketed in the U.S. in 2000, it was heralded by Intuitive Surgical, Inc. as providing a means for using laparoscopic incisions resulting in shorter recovery times and reduced blood loss. An aggressive marketing campaign aimed at encouraging patients to request robotic surgery has resulted in the medical devices being acquired by over 2,000 hospitals as of 2011. This robotic surgery device is used in hundreds of thousands of surgical procedures annually, including prostate surgery, heart surgery, gastric bypass, hysterectomies, gall bladder removal surgery, and many other surgical procedures.
At Audet & Partners, LLP, our experienced defective medical product lawyers are currently investigating cases involving injuries and complications caused by the da Vinci Surgical Robot based on a number of legal theories including but not limited to the following:
- > Defective design of the surgical medical device
- > Failure to properly train or instruct physicians in use of the surgical robot
- > Misleading marketing that understated the risk and exaggerated the benefits of the medical device
- > Insufficient product safety testing
Our da Vinci Surgical Robot injury attorneys are currently reviewing lawsuits for a wide range of injuries caused by use of this surgical equipment, such as:
- > Tears and burns of the intestines
- > Excessive bleeding
- > Vaginal cuff dehiscence
- > Necessary follow-up corrective surgeries
- > Severe burns of organs and arteries during robotic surgery
- > Puncture of blood vessels and organs
- > Injuries to the bowel
- > Peritonitis
- > Sepsis
- > Serious Ureter injuries
- > Wrongful death
The da Vinci Surgical Robot is a large medical device operated with a joystick type control like those more commonly associated with a video game. The device was intended to facilitate a more extensive range of motion than the surgeon’s hand and eliminate the need for cutting open the stomach when performing abdominal surgeries. When the robotic arms are inserted inside the abdomen, they can be used to remove an organ by burning away tissue. Although Intuitive Surgical, Inc. has conducted extensive marketing campaigns claiming the device should result in less noticeable scars and bleeding as well as quicker recovery times, patients across the U.S. have suffered severe injuries like those indicated above.
There has not been significant testing to determine whether this form of robotic surgery is safe when compared to conventional surgery nor do physicians receive much training on this new approach to surgical procedures. The manufacturer provides hospitals with a training program that includes only two surgeons and last a mere two days. While some hospitals have developed more extensive training in-house, some hospitals allow the device to be used without supervision after only a few training cases according to the Wall Street Journal.
If you have been injured by robotic surgery using the da Vinci Surgical Robot, our experienced robotic surgery injury attorneys at Audet and Partners, LLP offer a free consultation so that we can evaluate your legal claim and advise you of your options. We invite you to call us at (800) 965-1461 or email the confidential case inquiry form on the right side of this page.
The Economic Motivation Spurring Da Vinci Robotic Surgical Injuries
More lawsuits continue to be filed against Intuitive Surgical for serious injuries and medical complications caused by use of the da Vinci robotic surgical system in the wake of increasing evidence that tragic life-altering injuries could have been avoided. Intuitive Surgical engaged in aggressive marketing campaigns promoting robotic surgery but failed to adequately warn patients of medical risks or properly train physicians in use of the medical device according to lawsuits filed throughout the country.
The widespread use of da Vinci robotic surgery may be attributed more to economics than patient care. There is sparse evidence that this remote controlled robot surgical tool is more effective or safer when performing medical procedures than traditional surgery. However, some hospitals pay as much as $2.25 million for the robotic surgical device. While this purchase price constitutes a substantial investment, hospitals that purchase this surgical robot tool must also incur maintenance fees of $140,000 per year and $2000 per surgery in replacement parts. Once hospitals invest so heavily in the da Vinci robotic surgery device, they feel financial pressure to encourage physicians to utilize the technology to obtain a reasonable return on this substantial investment.
Upon closer inspection, the economic motivation of hospitals to push use of the device only gets worse. Four years ago, it was estimated that of the more than 800 hospitals that have purchased the da Vinci robotic surgery medical device, many are relatively small hospitals. One in seven hospitals that have purchased the medical device has less than 200 beds. The lower patient capacity for these small hospitals creates an enormous economic incentive to use the da Vinci surgical tool given estimates that a hospital must perform at least 520 operations with the device annually to keep the costs comparable to conventional surgery.
Defective medical product attorneys have filed lawsuits in California and across the country alleging that the da Vinci surgical system was aggressively marketed to hospitals and patients without adequate consideration for safety. Many smaller hospitals targeted by Intuitive Surgical marketing campaigns may lack the financial resources to properly train surgeons in use of this new form of surgical technology. Because physicians are aware of the enormous financial investment made by hospitals in acquiring this robotic surgical system, they may feel compelled to use the da Vinci surgical system despite a lack of competence and training.
Da Vinci surgical system lawsuits across the country are alleging that complications and injuries have been caused by physicians using the medical device that would have been averted had the physicians used traditional surgical practices. Our San Francisco defective medical product attorneys are currently investigating legal claims based on preventable injuries caused by the da Vinci robot surgery device.
If you have been injured by robotic surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System, our experienced robotic surgery injury attorneys at Audet and Partners, LLP offer a free consultation so that we can evaluate your legal claim and advise you of your options. We invite you to call us at (800) 965-1461 or email the confidential case inquiry form on the right side of this page.
Is Your Teenager More Qualified to Use the Da Vinci Surgical System Than Your Physician?
While robotic surgery systems may offer hope and promise for the future, a new study suggests that your teenager may be more adept at using robotic surgical equipment safely than a trained surgeon. The da Vinci Surgical System is relatively new so many surgeons have limited experience and skill when using this medical device. There have been a growing number of complications and botched medical procedures by surgeons that employ this new technology.
The daVinci Surgical System is used to perform hysterectomies and other surgical procedures. Approximately 2,000 daVinci Surgical Systems had been sold as of January 2013, which were used for surgical procedures in more than a 1,000 hospitals across the U.S. These devices were utilized in approximately 200,000 surgeries in U.S. hospitals across the country during 2012 alone.
Despite the potential promise of robotic technology during surgical procedures, a report presented recently at the American Gynecologic Laparoscopists’ 41st Annual Global Congress on Minimally Invasive Gynecology indicates that teen gamers may be more effective at using the technology for surgical procedures than skilled surgeons. The study included two high school sophomores that played video games at least two hours per month and college students that played at least four hours of video games per day. The results of the research were that the video gamers consistently exhibited more skill and precision at using robotic surgical systems than trained surgeons.
The gamers repeatedly exhibited superiority in a variety of critical operations involving robotic surgical systems, including steadiness in fastening stitches and sutures, eye-hand coordination and accuracy in applying pressure to a precise location. The newness of the surgery and the demand for unfamiliar skills by surgeons suggests that inadequate training may contribute to the injuries caused by use of the daVinci Surgical System.
While the use of these robotic surgical systems has increased, both medical professional organizations and insurance companies have begun to voice concerns about the potential risks of using the daVinci Surgical System for hysterectomies and other procedures. Both Kaiser Insurance and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have come out against the use of the daVinci Surgical medical device and other robotic surgical systems because of the potential danger to patients.
Prominent critics in the medical community have also voiced concerns about the nature of the marketing used to promote this relatively new technology. Dr. Susan K. Meuller, a board certified physician who received recognition as the Top Surgeon in America in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2007 by the Consumers' Research Council of America has been a vocal critic of use of the daVinci Surgical System in performing hysterectomies. In an extensive article written by Dr. Meuller criticizing use of the daVinci Surgical Systems, Dr. Meuller indicated that Intuitive Surgical, the company that manufactures the robotic surgical device, has paid companies to publish information on the Internet designed to push negative commentary from the top of the search engines.
Many hysterectomies, as well as thyroid surgeries, gastric bypass surgeries, bladder surgeries and prostate removals, have been performed by surgeons in hospitals that allegedly have failed to provide adequate training in robot surgery. If you have been injured by robotic surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System, our experienced defective medical product attorneys at Audet and Partners, LLP offer a free consultation so that we can evaluate your legal claim and advise you of your options. We invite you to call us at (800) 965-1461 or email us through the confidential case inquiry form on the right side of this page.
Marketing as Artful as a da Vinci
Over the past decade, the stock value of Intuitive Surgical, Inc. has grown more than twenty-fold, primarily on the strength of sales of its da Vinci robotic surgical system to hospitals and medical offices. The backbone of Intuitive's marketing strategy for the da Vinci surgical robot includes a flood of stern warnings to doctors that failing to adopt higher technology practices will result in loss of patients from this point forward to doctors adopting this robotic technology. Some ten years after deployment of the da Vinci system, it appears that patients – not doctors – are the one's suffering dire consequences at the hands of this new technology.
A December 2012 paper published by Citron Research notes almost a dozen "highly credible" lawsuits brought in 2012 based largely on suspect marketing claims made by Intuitive Surgical in connection with the da Vinci surgical robot. In addition to the deceptive marketing practices, patients have suffered serious injuries directly caused by the da Vinci surgical robot including burns from misguided electrical discharge and widespread extraneous tissue damage. The da Vinci surgical robot has most commonly found its way into procedures associated with prostate and hysterectomy surgeries.
Despite the serious problems raised by the use of the da Vinci surgical robot, Intuitive Surgical continues to play a very active role in the marketing of this system. In fact, Intuitive's website goes so far as to offer specific marketing help to doctors and other end users of the da Vinci system in the form of "strategic planning, marketing collateral and templates." See image below extracted from Intuitive Surgical's website:
If you or someone close to you has suffered adverse consequences as a result of a procedure using the da Vinci surgical robot system, you are urged to contact the law firm of Audet and Partners, LLP at (800) 965-1461, or you can request a free case evaluation by submitting the confidential inquiry form to the right of this page.
Is Robotic Surgery All Hype and No Substance?