Da Vinci Robotic Surgery on the Rise, Despite Concerns

The use of the Da Vinci surgical robot, made by Intuitive Surgical, has increased in the United States recently, despite safety concerns and increasing numbers of medical product liability lawsuits alleging that the system can lead to severe complications and even death.

Second quarter profits for Intuitive Surgical surpassed most analysts’ estimates.  The company reported that robotic surgical procedures with the Da Vinci robot increased 26% during the second quarter.  They also sold 15% more systems than they sold during the second quarter last year.

The Da Vinci Surgical System is a surgical robot that features four arms and a camera, allowing surgeons to operate through small incisions while they view the procedures on a large screen.

The system costs hospitals up to $2 million, not to mention annual maintenance costs and replacement parts.  Demand for robotic surgical procedures has increased as hospitals tout the system on their websites and in brochures.  However, this information is now being called into question after a recent study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology concluded that a number of hospitals do not provide information about risks and complications associated with the system, costs of robotic surgery, and alternative options to their patients.

To date, at least four Da Vinci surgical robot lawsuits have been filed by individuals who claim to have suffered burns, tears, and other injuries during surgery.  Each of the suits is based on similar allegations that Intuitive Surgical’s aggressive promotion of the Da Vinci system without adequate warnings, instructions, or training constitutes negligence.  Furthermore, claims state, a defective design of the device can lead to organ, vessel, or tissue damage.

Often, patients who suffer injury during Da Vinci surgery are unaware of their injuries until after they are discharged from the hospital, so their surgeons are not even aware of their injuries.

In a lawsuit filed by Gilmore McCalla in April, Intuitive Surgical is accused of over-promotion of the device and of a failure to conduct adequate post-marketing monitoring into complications and injuries that have occurred due to the system.  McCalla’s daughter died two weeks after undergoing a hysterectomy with the device.

“Defendant sold [the da Vinci robot] through a calculated program of intimidation and market management, forcing hospitals and physicians to purchase it in order to appear to be competitive, and creating a fear in their minds that if they did not have this technology they would lose business to competitors,” alleged McCalla in the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Contact a Da Vinci Surgical Robot Lawyer

If you or someone you love has suffered injury or death after surgery with the Da Vinci Surgical System, you may be able to collect substantial compensation for your damages in a dangerous medical device lawsuit.  To learn about how your rights can be protected, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to schedule a free consultation.

Sept. 24, 2012 | Tags: Da Vinci Surgical Robot, Dangerous Medical Devices, Defective Medical Devices

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