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Risks of Surgical Robots

Robots sound like something from the future, but the truth is that they are being used today. Self-driving cars will become a popular form of transportation in the next decade and we also have surgical robots in the operating room.

Surgical procedures can be very complicated. While the surgeon is supposed to be in full control of the robot at all times, many physicians have reported malfunctions and complications. These have led to medical malpractice cases.

Robots may not be human, but they do make mistakes. While the thought of a robot performing your surgery may seem cutting-edge and high-tech, many of these devices do not live up to the hype.

Introducing the da Vinci Surgical System

One surgical robot in question is the da Vinci Surgical System. It was manufactured by Intuitive Surgical Inc. and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000 and is used on 3 million patients worldwide every year. This surgical robot offers many benefits. It allows doctors a 3D view of the inside of patients’ bodies. It has a laparoscope, which is a tube with a light and camera at one end. This sends video images to a monitor to guide the surgeon through the procedure. It also comes with instruments that can rotate and bend better than human hands.

Risks of the da Vinci Surgical System

Despite the benefits, the da Vinci Surgical System does not improve outcomes in the majority of procedures. Even major procedures such as hysterectomies did not result in better outcomes when the da Vinci Surgical System was used. It is also more costly and takes longer.

One woman was seriously injured by a surgical robot. She was having a procedure done for her endometriosis, which occurs when tissue grows outside of the uterus. The surgeon, who used a da Vinci robot, cut into the woman’s rectum instead of the vagina. A colostomy had to be performed. It was reversed later and the woman now suffers from bowel issues.

The device has also been recalled by the FDA multiple times. In one case, friction caused the instrument to move erratically. All the recalls were Class II recalls, meaning that the robot had the capability of causing health problems that were temporary or medically reversible.

It is believed that surgical robots are generally safe, but a study shows that problems are often underreported. By August 2012, the FDA had been made aware of 71 deaths involving the robots. In addition, between 2011 and 2012, adverse events caused by the robot increased by 34 percent.

Get Legal Help for Your Medical Malpractice Case

While technology is prevalent in the medical field, surgical robots have risks. Surgical procedures that are supposed to be minimally invasive end up causing paralysis, scarring, and extreme pain and suffering.

The Miami medical malpractice attorneys at the law offices of Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP can help you recover compensation for damages caused by a negligent doctor or surgical robot. Request a free consultation by contacting our law offices today at 305-371-2692.