Da Vinci Surgery Robot Linked to Serious Injury and Death

da Vinci surgery

JUNE 21, 2013 UPDATE--Officials have come forward to say that there isn't a medical benefit to having surgery done by a da Vinci ® robot over other existing surgical procedures. They say the robot doesn't reduce surgical complications, but rather only increases the cost of surgery.

Patients who had da Vinci robot surgery also claim that their surgeons did discuss these other existing surgical procedures with them. But, the surgeons were much more enthusiastic and persuasive when presenting the da Vinci surgery. Officials believe that the push to use the da Vinci robot, despite the robot not having a real benefit, is a result of the robot's cost. At a price of up to $1.5 million per robot, surgeons feel a pressure to use the system.

JUNE 5, 2013 ORIGINAL STORY--The medical device company Intuitive Surgical has been marketing its revolutionary surgical robot "da Vinci ®" by saying it is minimally invasive, leaving patients in less pain with faster recovery. Unfortunately, recent evidence and lawsuits show that isn't always the case.

Intuitive Surgical now has da Vinci robot lawsuits claiming that the robot caused serious and fatal injuries to patients. Another source states there are at least 85 additional deaths and 245 additional injuries as a result of the da Vinci robot. The robot is used worldwide, including Western Pennsylvania, for many routine and same-day surgeries, but if a procedure goes wrong, medical personnel may not be aware and patients may be forced to stay hospitalized for weeks for unknown reasons.

The da Vinci robot uses monopolar energy, which can create excessive heat and lead to stray electrical currents, called "arching." This electrical arching causes sparks, and these sparks have escaped the robot into patients through micro-cracks in the machinery that surgeons cannot see. The escaped sparks can cause severe internal burns and other heat related damage, and these complications have led to severe bleeding, incontinence, sexual impotence, organ punctures, failed organs, failed routine surgeries, unexplained symptoms, and death.

The company is also criticized for its minimal training required for surgeons to begin using the da Vinci robot. Training involves only five hours of instructional video, one mock surgery, and as little as two supervised surgeries. But, injury is still possible even with surgeons who have experience with the robot.

Intuitive Surgical is not issuing a product recall for the da Vinci robot. Instead, the company recently issued an "urgent medical device notification" advising hospitals of the robot's potential to burn internal body tissue. This is not the first time Intuitive Surgical has failed to issue a recall--in May of last year, the company attempted to mask the robot's problems by sending hospitals new robot "tip covers" without explanation, instructing surgeons to replace the tips immediately. The new tip covers were not successful in preventing injury from the robot's electrical arching.

Did You Suffer from Medical Complications After Having da Vinci Surgery?

A medical device is supposed to help, not harm. If you, or someone you love, suffered from injuries after having surgery performed by a da Vinci robot or another medical product, you may have a case. At Edgar Snyder & Associates, we work to gather medical records and evidence to build your case and get you the compensation you deserve for your medical bills, missed work, and pain and suffering.

Call us now at 412-394-1000 or fill out the form in the top right of this web page for a no obligation, free legal consultation. You may have a case, and you need to learn your legal rights. Contact us today, before time runs out.

"Patients Scarred After Robotic Surgery." CNBC. April 19, 2013.
"Robotic Surgery: Growing Sales, but Growing Concerns." CNBC. March 19, 2013.
"Robotic surgery is high-tech 'tour de force'-- but is it safe?" NBC News. June 17, 2013.