Da Vinci Surgical Robot Lawsuit

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Published: June 1st, 2013

The da Vinci Surgical System has been linked to a number of complications and patient deaths, which may have been caused by surgical mistakes from insufficient training or by the machine’s design.

STATUS OF DA VINCI SURGICAL SYSTEM LAWSUITS: Potential claims are being reviewed by lawyers for individuals who have been injured or lost loved ones due to problems following robotic surgery with the Da Vinci Surgical System.


MANUFACTURER: Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

OVERVIEW: The da Vinci Surgical System was approved by the FDA in 2000 for use in urologic, laparoscopic, gynecologic and non-cardiovascular thoracoscopic surgical procedures and thoracoscopically assisted cardiotomy procedures.

The surgical robot has four arms, three for holding surgical instruments including scalpels and electrocautery instruments, and a fourth with an endoscopic camera. It is controlled by a surgeon looking through an imaging device at a 3-D image of the surgical area. The surgeon controls the robot with foot pedals and hand controllers.

According to the company’s website, the robot has been used in procedures to treat a number of cancers, including bladder cancer, colorectal cancer, gynecologic cancer, kidney cancer, prostate, cancer, and throat cancer. They are also marketing the device for use in procedures for coronary artery disease, endometriosis, heavy uterine bleeding, kidney disorders, obesity, and other problems that can be corrected with surgery. The company describes the use of the da Vinci as a “new category of minimally invasive surgery.”

DA VINCI SURGICAL MISTAKES: There are growing reports that the da Vinci Surgical System is prone to a number of surgical mistakes, potentially linked to the use of its all-metal surgical arms. Some say that the arms conduct electricity from the robot’s electrocautery instruments, which can then arc and burn arteries and vital organs in unintended locations. The robot could also tear internal organs by accident, some say.

Often, the da Vinci robot tears and burns are not apparent during or immediately after surgery, which could result in delayed treatment for internal injuries and death. Tears and burns to blood vessels, intestines and reproductive organs are the most commonly reported complications.

There are also concerns that surgeons have not been properly trained to use the device. It employs hand controls and foot pedals which the surgeon must use to guide the multi-armed robot in precision operations while looking through eye holes at a 3-D image created by stereo cameras. Some experts are concerned that the videogame-like interface is so far removed from normal surgical operations that it requires far more intensive and specialized training than Intuitive Surgery, Inc. has provided.

DA VINCI ROBOT COMPLICATIONS: The complications and reports of injuries and deaths has led some experts to question whether the benefits of the device are outweighed by the risks. There are also concerns that da Vinci surgical procedures are more expensive than traditional surgery with no extra benefits. The machine costs $2 million plus heavy annual maintenance costs.

A study published in January 2012 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that women treated for endometrial cancer had about the same complication rates through traditional laparoscopy as they did following a da Vinci surgery. However, using the da Vinci cost about $1,300 more.

As a result of a defective design and poor surgical training, patients may have suffered injuries or death due to a robotic surgical procedure that is more expensive and may have no benefit over traditional surgery. A number of individuals throughout the United States are now pursuing compensation through a da Vinci Surgical System lawsuit as a result of the manufacturer’s failure to properly design and test the device and the skills needed to operate it.

Photo courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Nimur / CC by 3.0

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There Are 15 Comments So Far • (Add Your Comments)

  1. My sisters mother in law died when the DA VINCI ROBOT ARM slipped during surgery and ripped her aorta out causing her to bleed to death! The doctor and hospital conspired to cover up the mistake and she was not able to get an attorney to take the case. She is willing to hire an attorney to take the case and one may contact my email for her address and phone number.

  2. Had complications after surgery… in bed for three months with internal bleeding.My doctor ignored my calls!! I tried to hire an attorney but was not able have them take my case.

  3. i understand how you feel .. i was stuck in bed FOREVER… Heck my kids were more worried than anyone eles.. They wanted their mom., and i could not PERFORM…. weird..

  4. Just had a robotic hysterectomy a week ago. Was told one night in hospital and quick recovery time. Hematoma occurred the next day. Spent 3 nights/4 days in hospital. Had to have blood transfusion. Severe pain. Unable to return to work. Is this something that normally occurs with this surgery?

  5. People need to understand that there are complications with any surgery and risks as well with any instrumentation. Everyone’s stories are no different from open surgery or lap surgery. The general public needs to understand the potential complications w/ all surgies and although are unfortunate they can happen.

  6. Well it has been 8 months now and I am still in terrible pain in the left side, Every time I called Doc, no reply.I was stuck in bed for 3-4 months before I could walk alone, I am disabled already. He was suppose to take it all and left my ovaries and tubes,I hardly sleep from the pain waking me up. I have lost 40 lbs and I was down to 102 and now I am 113. I know there are chances with all surgeries, but come on 8+ months and still having problems other than the pain. Some days I am fine the next crying the next dont talk to me, now I am going into menopause when he told me I wouldn’t. I have gotten another OBGYN and he has been running test for 2-3 weeks now and said something is wrong, I said it was not wrong before this surgery. I have no love life, mood swings fro hell, sweats like a man, and I could go on and on! Why do they use people for test dummies on medical equipment! Ifwe was not messed up before we will be if the equipment is faulty or someone running it that doesn’t know excatly what they are doing.Everyone else wants help about this and that, how about put me back like I was or fix me one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. The sad part of this whole situation is that there is no clinical evidence that this technology provides improved outcomes for the majority of the procedures it is used on. With the hysterectomy you can have this procedure carried out in minimally invasive method, without the robot and obtain wonderful outcomes. The use of this product is just around marketing and attempting to provide more profit for the Manufacturer and the shareholders in this company. The use of this device on procedures where it does not provide improved outcome or the same outcome with lower cost should be stopped. All potential patients need to ask for the comparative effectiveness data on this and make sure you get unbiased studies that are not funded by the manufacturer. This should be part of the informed consent process, giving you all alternatives. for your procedure, along with the cost. With this robot we are paying more for these procedures and not receiving value. V= Q/C. There is a lack of quality improvement with the DaVinci and absolutely it cannot be done at a lower cost. Any way you look at this it should be a loser, so ask the question, what is keeping ithe DaVinci at the hospitals and is it at the patients peril? Also you may want to ask if your provider of care has stock in Intuitive…..

  8. So sad to see others are in my shoes. I had suffered with IC for around 30 years and had a remissionof sorts. Then I started having cramps, bladder and rectal pain, Went in to have my last ovary out and came home bleeding for around a month. When I think I did not even blink about the Da Vinci Robot doing my surgery. I want to scream. Two yearrs in bed and totally lost my life. Pain, even with morphine unreal. Tried everything and feel like my insides are pushing down hard..Dr. refuses to take a look see lapo. I do know my vaginal cuff was cut and some more cuts here and there. I feel defiled and angry.

  9. I am going through the same situation. I hurt worse now than what I did. Have really bad problems with my bladder sex just kills me that’s when my husband gets it which has been 3 times since Nov. 2012.. Severe cramping. I sooo regret having this done,,I have not felt good since. As for the doc he just don’t give a crap. When I feel a bowel movement come on my body gets distorted from sooo much pain. They took everything out and I cannot for the life of me figure out why there is sooo much pain. I feel for you people that are going through the same thing! Wish you all luck and I hope someday things will improve.

  10. In 2009 They found a large tumor on my ovary and the Dr suggested using the Di Vinci to take it out. Shorter recovery time and out patient. Immediately after surgery I knew something was wrong so he put me in a room over nite. The next day back into emergency surgery I was bleeding internally they couldn’t fix it with the robot so they ended up “gutting me like a fish”. A few days later another procedure for a large hemotoma they installed a drain to try and get it to break up that way nope ended up back in surgery about 4 days later for that. I ended up in the hospital for 28 days and I don’t remember much except I woke up in the cardiac ICU 2 times. I was finally released 45lbs lighter and a lot weaker only to be rushed back 3 days later with a blockage in my small intestine. The ER doctor told me it was due to all of the surgeries right after each other, my intestines thought they needed to repair themselves.
    To top it all off I then developed 1 of the largest surgical hernias the new doc had ever repaired so again cut IN THE VERY SAME PLACE ONCE AGAIN. I’ve had infection problems from that since 2011 now they have decided that the mesh is infected and it has to come out. That is a 3 week stay in the hospital. So all added up it will be 10 surgeries to remove an ovary. My stomach is so scared up I no longer have a belly button and I’m in constant pain.

  11. In 2009 I was diagnosed with uterine ca. Was scheduled for surgery with the robot. Seemed like everything went well, two days later I had to go back to ER, was in terrible pain. Went to a different hospital they let me stay for two days and did nothing but give me pain medication. Then all of my organs failed, I died. They did emergency surgery found out the robot perforated my bowel and all the feces was going in my abdomen. They cleaned me out the best they could taking part of my intestines. I was in a coma for a month and a half. On the vent, had to wean off of that was the worst, learn how to eat, talk, walk again. I contracted vre and mrsa and still three years later I still have flair ups of mrsa. I know of two other girls that had davinci robot surgery one had her bowel perforated the other now has a steel plate in her back from where the infection dissolved her spine. That is just in the Dayton area!

  12. I am so glad I am not the only one I had a hysterectomy and the doc didn’t even tell me he was using the robot until I had to go back to the er a week later where it had cut or burnt my utera and caused all of the urine to spill out into my stomach I had to have emergency surgery they said I could have died I was one sick person and after that I have had three more surgeries having to put a stint in there and had to wear a cather for two months at home and everywhere that was totally embarrassing and rough to have to sleep with I hope no one else has to go through what I have this was in Kentucky and what really hurts is I seen my doc when I was going for one of my surgeries and he didn’t say anything to me so for people who has gone through what I have good luck in your healing and lawsuit if you have one

  13. it never ends.had hysterectomy in 1/09/09,here it is 12/2/13,still issues.had a sacoma mass taken out in 7/13,after pleading with my cancer doctor to refer me to mayo clinic.nylon sutures never sewed me up.had so maney staph infections and other agents leaking out of me.its sisckening.best believe those doctors got their money to make me ill for the rest of my life and theymake damn sure of it.please do not use robot,being old fashion pout things isn’t always bad.46 and can only dream one day no more doctors and pain it sucks

  14. I’m getting robotic surgery in 8 days and I was scared, now I’m terrified. I’ve had my ob/gyn for 12 years and I trust her, I’m not so sure about the robotics. Going to do research. Please keep this site up to date. What questions should I ask?

  15. I had the robotic da vinnci for a prolapsed rectum, I became very ill and was readmitted for 21 days, for infection, pelvic abcess amd partial bowel obstruction, I HAVE ATTORNEY WHO GOES BACK AND FORTH, the Intutuive team as we all know are very in compasniate and arrgonant they deny any, I mean any deaths of over 80 and injuries over 4000 that are reported, You would think they would drop a notch and win back some pride and take some claim to defects and lack of training, that has caused so many innocent people there lives and injuries, but they don’t….there claim with my attorney this could have happned with any surgery uh no it wouldn’t-mad in Michigan

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