Da Vinci Robot Lawsuit Information Center
Were you or a loved one a victim of bad robot surgery? You should know that you are not alone. According to recent media reports, a growing number of robotic surgery lawsuits have been filed on behalf of individuals who allegedly suffered organ damage, torn blood vessels, and other serious complications in procedures involving the da Vinci Surgical System. According to one Bloomberg.com report, at least 10 bad robot surgery lawsuits involving the da Vinci robot were pending in various courts as of March 2013. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is reportedly looking into complication reports involving the da Vinci surgical robot, while a number of state regulators are also starting to ask questions about bad robot surgery, according to several Bloomberg reports.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP is offering free case evaluations to anyone who may have been a victim of Da Vinci surgery complications, including:
- Surgical burns and tears to arteries and other blood vessels
- Surgical burns and tears to vital organs
- Excessive bleeding
- Cut ureters
- Bowel Injuries
To learn more about filing a bad robot surgery lawsuit, we urge you to contact our firm today.
Robotic Surgery Growing in Popularity
Introduced in 2000, Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci Surgical System is the only robotic surgery platform currently approved in the U.S. for soft tissue surgery. According to Bloomberg.com, the da Vinci was used last year in some 500,000 procedures, including hysterectomies, gall bladder removal, prostate removal, heart surgeries, and thyroid procedures. Much of the growth in robot surgery in recent years is patient driven, spurred by promises that the da Vinci robot offers shorter recovery times compared to traditional procedures, Bloomberg.com.
At least one recent study has raised questions about some of the methods hospitals have used to market robotic surgery to patients. The study, which was published in 2011 by the Journal for Healthcare Quality, found that many hospital websites touting robotic surgery overestimate the benefits of surgical robots, largely ignore their risks and are strongly influenced by the product’s manufacturer. Among other things, the authors of the study pointed out that there are no randomized, controlled studies showing patient benefit in robotic surgery.
Robotic Surgery Complications on the Rise
As robotic surgery has become more popular, questions have grown concerning its risks and benefits. In February 2013, for example, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study showing that hysterectomies performed with the da Vinci system cost thousands of dollars more but did not reduce complications compared with traditional laparoscopy. A month later, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) advised its members that robotic surgery for hysterectomies doesn’t improve outcomes and shouldn’t be the first choice for most women.
Since 2009, the da Vinci robot has been associated with 70 deaths in informal incident reports filed with the FDA, according to Bloomberg.com. Reports of complications have also increased, jumping to at least 115 in 2012 from 24 in 2009. In January 2013, the agency launched a survey of key hospitals in the U.S. to determine if a reported increase in bad robot surgery reports related to the da Vinci Surgical System was indicative of a real problem with the technology. In addition to questioning doctors about the types of complications they might have observed in da Vinci procedures, the FDA also asked about their training on the device.
In addition to the FDA, several state regulators have begun to question the risks and benefits associated with robotic surgery. For example, in March 2013, Bloomberg reported that health officials in Massachusetts issued an advisory regarding an increase in bad robot surgery reports. The New Hampshire Board of Medicine was also reportedly looking into the matter, according to a report from the New Hampshire Union Leader.
Da Vinci Robot Surgery Lawsuits
In March 2013, Bloomberg.com reported that 10 bad robot surgery lawsuits had been filed over a 15 month period on behalf of patients who allegedly suffered serious complications in da Vinci robot procedures. On February 19, 2013, Intuitive filed a petition with the U .S. District Court, Northern District of California seeking coordination of 11 bad robot surgery claims involving the da Vinci Surgical System before a single judge. (Cook v. Intuitive Surgical Inc., No. 12-6363 (N.D. Calif.)) A month later, Intuitive agreed to settle one lawsuit filed by a woman who allegedly suffered da Vinci robotic surgery complications during a thyroid procedure. (Silvestrini v. Intuitive Surgical Systems Inc., No. 11-2704 (E.D. La.)
Many bad robot surgery lawsuits accuse Intuitive Surgical of failing to properly train doctors on the da Vinci robot, and recommending that they perform unsupervised surgeries too quickly. For example, one email disclosed in a da Vinci lawsuit filed in Washington state seems to suggest that an Intuitive manager told his sales team not to “let proctoring or credentialing get in the way” of meeting goals on the number of robot surgeries performed at one facility. Other documents disclosed in the course of the same bad robot surgery lawsuit indicate the company told the FDA prior to the da Vinci’s approval that its training protocol that would include a three-day course for all operating-room personnel, as well as a 70-question quiz. But after the da Vinci Surgical System was launched, the marketing official in charge of training reduced the quiz to 10 questions and the course to a single day. (Estate of Fred E. Taylor v. Intuitive Surgical, 09-2-03136-5, Superior Court, State of Washington, Kitsap County)
For its part, Intuitive Surgical challenges any suggestion that in an attempt to increase the use of its product it engaged in inadequate surgeon training or improper certification resulting in harm to patients.
Legal Assistance for Victims of Bad Robot Surgery
Victims of bad robot surgery may be entitled to compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. The attorneys of Bernstein Liebhard LLP are available to answer any questions you might have regarding bad robot surgery. Not only will our attorneys evaluate your case for free, they will also be with you every step of the way as you navigate the complex legal process. To learn more about filing a bad robot surgery lawsuit, please contact our firm today by calling .