Da Vinci Surgical Robot Leads to Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Medical technologies are intended to improve upon existing technologies, bettering patient outcomes and reducing risks of treatment.  Unfortunately, sometimes these technologies are placed in the hands of surgeons before the product has been thoroughly tested or before surgeons have received adequate training in their use.  According to medical malpractice attorneys in Oklahoma City and around the nation, this is the case with the da Vinci surgical robot created by Intuitive Surgical. The da Vinci robot is designed to improve a surgeon's range of motion during surgeries such as hysterectomies and prostate removal, but the machine is also being used in gall bladder removal, gastric bypass, and thyroid cancer surgeries.  The da Vinci is intended to facilitate these minimally invasive surgeries by granting greater range of vision and motion, minimizing patient blood loss, and speeding recovery.  Unfortunately, for victims of botched surgeries, the da Vinci does not seem to be worth its million dollar price tag. Since 2003, the da Vinci has been implicated in a number of medical malpractice lawsuits and wrongful death cases.  Initially, the lawsuits were levied against physicians plaintiffs say were ill-equipped to use the new technology.  However, more recent cases have been filed against Intuitive Surgical, manufacturer and marketer of the da Vinci surgical robot.  These lawsuits claim that the device is defective, Intuitive Surgical's marketing techniques are unethical, and the company fails to provide adequate training in the use of the device before certifying physicians. Oklahoma City medical malpractice lawyers are watching these developments closely. Some of the multi-million dollar lawsuits involving botched surgeries using the da Vinci robot include:

  • December 2003:  the widow of a man whose aorta and vena cava were cut during surgery to remove a cancerous kidney sued St. Joseph's hospital, saying it allowed physicians with inadequate experience to use the machine and alleging that the hospital was more concerned about getting an opportunity to utilize the new technology than providing proper patient care
  • May 2010:  a woman who had both of her ureters severed during a hysterectomy sued Wentworth-Douglass hospital, alleging that the surgeons responsible for her surgery lacked adequate training to use the da Vinci surgical robot
  • February 2012:  the family of a man whose lower intestine was punctured during spleen removal was awarded $7.5 million; the man's injury was not discovered until two weeks after his surgery, at which time it was too late to save him; the doctor in the case testified that it was the first time he had used the da Vinci on a live patient
  • March 2012:  the father of a 24-year-old woman who died two weeks after a hysterectomy that burned an artery and her intestines filed the first lawsuit against Intuitive Surgical alleging that the da Vinci robot is a defective medical device
  • April 2012:  a couple has named Intuitive Surgical in a $490 million lawsuit after the woman's left ureter and bladder were damaged during a hysterectomy; the couple is suing for including pain & suffering, negligence, fraud, breach of warranty, unjust enrichment, and loss of consortium
If you or a loved one has suffered severe or fatal injuries as a result of a botched surgery, it is important that you seek legal counsel from a qualified Oklahoma medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.  Whether your surgical malpractice case is the result of poorly trained physicians, careless surgeons, or defective medical equipment, you deserve compensation for your suffering.  Click here to learn more.