Da Vinci Robotic Surgery Problems, Complications, and Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Robotic Surgery Malpractice, Da Vinci Malpractice, Da Vinci Surgery Malpractice, Medical Malpractice Robotic Surgery, Da Vinci Medical Malpractice, Robotic Surgery Complications
The Da Vinci robot, manufactured by Intuitive Surgical, Inc. is a technologically advanced surgical device that has been purported to help surgeons more precisely and effectively perform certain surgeries, including urology surgeries, hysterectomies. prostate surgeries, and heart surgeries. However, recent robotic surgery malpractice lawsuits may point to a serious problem with surgeons sufficiently trained in using the surgical robot, which may be due to an absence of training standards for surgeons. These robotic surgery malpractice lawsuits have been filed due to a number of patients sustaining severe, potentially life-threatening injuries.
[ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703341904575266952674277806.html ]
While the FDA is still gathering information regarding the scope of Da Vinci robot injuries, the administration has received reports of more than 4,600 Da Vinci robot injuries and more than 80 Da Vinci robotic surgery fatalities.
Among the types of severe injuries reportedly associated with Da Vinci surgical robots are:
- Cut ureters
- Internal bleeding or excessive bleeding
- Reopening of surgical incisions
- Fatal blood infection (known as sepsis)
- Punctures to the organs surrounding the surgical site (this can result in the contents of the organs spilling out into the body, which may increase the risk of sepsis)
Rupture of the arteries and/or blood vessels
- Peritonitis (painful swelling of the abdominal lining)
- Burns and tears
Causes of Da Vinci Robotic Surgery MMedical Malpractice Lawsuits: Improper Training for Surgeons?
Currently, there are no standards in place for how much training a surgeon needs to undergo before he is considered to be proficient at safely operating a Da Vinci surgical robots. While Intuitive Surgical conducts Da Vinci robot training for surgeons that lasts from two to four days (with the training consisting of operating on pig and human cadavers), surgeons who are experienced at using these devices have noted that it can take between 250 and 700 robotic surgeries on actual patients in order to be proficient at operating A Da Vinci surgical robot. This means that thousands of surgeons nationwide may be operating Da Vinci robots with insufficient training, which increases the likelihood that patients may sustain serious complications or injuries.
Even some proponents of the robot question whether it is safe in the hands of doctors at small hospitals with too few procedures to build and maintain proficiency. “There are advantages (to the Da Vinci system), but I think it only happens beyond the learning curve,” said Dr. Jim Hu, director of robotic and minimally invasive surgery in the urology department at UCLA Medical Center. Dr. Hu is a proponent of the Da Vinci Surgical System, but a critic of the lax training standards required to operate with it, and whose studies and self-tracking found it can take a surgeon hundreds of surgeries to master the robot.
What’s even more shocking than this discrepancy between the training being given and estimates of how much experience is necessary to be proficient with a Da Vinci robot, is the fact that some surgeons are actually using these robots without any training or experience.
In a Wall Street Journal article, one robotic Da Vinci surgery malpractice lawsuit filed due to wrongful death alleges that a Florida surgeon attempted to perform surgery with a Da Vinci robot without ever having operated with one before. Dr. Carlos Chiriboga, died at West Boca Medical Center in West Boca Raton, Florida after his robotic surgery, utilizing the Da Vinci Surgical System. The attorney representing Dr. Chiriboga’s family, Darla Keen, stated; “the urologist who operated on Dr. Chiriboga had never performed the surgery he was attempting with the robot before.” The only response to this incident was by Rebecca Ayer, a spokesperson for the hospital, who stated; “the surgeons who have performed robotic surgery at West Boca have had a solid success rate since they began performing the surgery at the hospital more than two years ago.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, Sherry Long, a 47-year-old resident of Rochester, N.H., sued the Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, N.H. because of complications stemming from a hysterectomy performed using the Da Vinci Robotic Surgical system. She is alleging that during her robotic surgery hysterectomy, in March of 2009, both of her ureters were severed. The injury allegedly was due to the surgeons’ lack of training on the da Vinci robot.
The Wall Street Journal also reported on two other unfortunate cases of robotic surgery complications when gynecologists at Wentworth-Douglass started utilizing the Da Vinici Surgical Robot. The Journal article states, “The bladders of two female patients were lacerated during routine gynecological surgeries performed with the robot, a person with direct knowledge of those cases says.” The injury was serious enough they had to be “sent to the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass., for another surgery to repair the damage, the person says. The patients survived.”
In June 2007, an elderly man with a stomach condition died after his esophagus was perforated during a Robotic Surgical procedure. The Robotic surgery was performed at Seacoast General Hospital where this was general surgeon David Coppola’s first Da Vinci procedure. Dr. Coppola operated on the elderly man while under the supervision of a Da Vinci proctor for several hours with the robot, but eventually gave up and switched to open surgery. The article further states, “It’s unclear whether the esophagus was injured during the robotic part of the surgery or after Dr. Coppola opened the man’s abdomen and reverted to traditional surgery.”
[ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703341904575266952674277806.html ]
Studies Also Raise Questions About the “Effectiveness” of Da Vinci Robotic Surgery
A number of studies conducted regarding the alleged effectiveness of Da Vinci robots have found that:
- “Claims of superiority for robotic surgery are not currently supported by high-quality data,” according to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology [http://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(12)00664-3/fulltext]
- Da Vinci robot surgery “does not offer any advantage in functional outcomes [of surgeries], nor does it result in better cancer control,” according to a premiere prostate cancer resource [http://www.prostatecancer.com.au/journal_a22.html]
- Patients undergoing certain surgeries via the Da Vinci robot “were more likely to have complications that required the surgeon to open them up all the way than those who underwent traditional laparoscopic surgery,” according to the Surgical Endoscopy journal [http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2018631542_robot08m.html]
About Wright & Schulte, LLC
The medical malpractice lawyers at Wright & Schulte LLC are currently reviewing robotic surgery claims of those who have suffered from serious, possibly fatal complications after undergoing da Vinci robotic surgery. Although da Vinci robotic surgery was initially introduced to try to simplify certain surgical procedures by making them less invasive and less painful, problems with the surgical robot or surgeon training may have led to reports of patients being seriously injured even fataly after undergoing robotic surgery. Wright & Schulte LLC is currently offering free consults to those who have sustained any type of serious robotic surgery complication.
Wright & Schulte LLC, a personal injury firm, is dedicated to the belief that America’s legal system should work for the people. Every day, the dedicated attorneys of Wright & Schulte LLC stand up for the rights of people who have been injured or wronged. Whether it is a personal injury due to medical malpractice, product liability, or any other lawsuits we are always here to answer any questions and help in any way we can. It costs nothing to talk to us, and there is no obligation. Free Da Vinci robotic surgery complication lawsuit evaluations are available through yourlegalhelp.com or by calling 1(800)-399-0795.