Possible MDL for Da Vinci Surgical Robot Lawsuits

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has been petitioned to consolidate and centralize all Da Vinci surgical robot lawsuits currently in federal courts.  

Right now, there are at least four Da Vinci lawsuits filed in U.S. District Courts.  These claims are based on allegations that design defects, poor training, and a failure to warn of risks associated with the surgical robots led to internal injuries or the death of a patient.

The Da Vinci machine is a robotic surgical device that allows surgeons to control four remote controlled arms and a camera to operate laparoscopically using a joystick-like control.

Since the Da Vinci’s introduction by Intuitive Surgical in 2000, nearly 1 million people have undergone robotic surgery.  Roughly 350,000 of these surgeries occurred last year alone.  Reports show a 400 percent increase in minimally invasive prostate, heart, and gynecological robotic surgery, along with other types of procedures.

Intuitive Surgical promoted the Da Vinci system as a medical science breakthrough because it allows for less invasive surgery and shorter recovery times.  On the other hand, though, Da Vinci lawsuit claims allege that the device presents a significant risk of internal burns, tears, and other complications which may lead to catastrophic injuries or even the wrongful death of a patient.

Recently, Patricia and Drennan Mayfield filed a Da Vinci lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on May 7, and subsequently requested a consolidation of all federal Da Vinci lawsuits as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.

In the Mayfield’s suit, the plaintiffs allege that Patricia Mayfield suffered bowel and vaginal damage in a hysterectomy surgery in January 2010.  They also claim that Intuitive Surgical was negligent in their failure to provide proper training for the device and that they promoted robotic surgery without providing adequate safety warnings.

Product liability lawyers expect an increase in Da Vinci lawsuits in the coming months and years.  Claims similar to the Mayfields’ have already been filed in New York, Louisiana, and Alabama.

“An estimated four in ten hospital websites in the United States publicize the use of robotic surgery, with the lion’s share touting its clinical superiority despite a lack of scientific evidence that robotic surgery is any better than conventional operations,” said the Mayfields’ attorneys for in the motion. “The hospitals employing this device have outsourced patient education content to the device manufacturer, allowing industry to make claims that are unsubstantiated by the literature.” 

Under an MDL, all current and future federal Da Vinci cases would be overseen by one judge for pretrial proceedings.  The Mayfields have requested that the MDL be presented in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, before Judge Carlton Wayne Reeves.

Contact a Da Vinci Lawyer

If you or someone you love has been harmed during surgery with a Da Vinci surgical robot system, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages, including medical bills and lost wages.  Contact an experienced medical product liability lawyer today to learn more in a free legal consultation.

May 31, 2012 | Tags: Da Vinci Surgical Robot, Dangerous Medical Devices, Defective Medical Devices

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