Da Vinci Surgical Robot Lawsuit

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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 have been pursued by individuals who have been injured or lost loved ones due to problems following robotic surgery with the Da Vinci Surgical System. As of May 2015, most claims have settled or lawyers are no longer accepting cases for new injuries.

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.

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  1. Kathleen Reply

    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. Patricia Reply

    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. Kimberly Reply

    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. Diane Reply

    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. John Reply

    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. Carlette Reply

    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. Judy Reply

    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. Sharon Reply

    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. Tami Reply

    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. Rebekah Reply

    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. D scott Reply

    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. brenda Reply

    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. pam Reply

    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 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. Cyndi Reply

    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. Kim Reply

    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

  16. teresa Reply

    had robotic surgery 2 yrs. ago 11-2012. My lower left back hurts all the time and I sometime really hurt in left area (ovary area) Wish I would have had different type of surgery. Would not reccommend.

  17. paintgirl Reply

    I work in the OR at a major facility that has two DaVinci surgical robots. I do work in these surgeries at least twice a week and would NEVER have any procedure done this way. I would recommend having it done laproscopically and also recommend intense research on the surgeon performing the procedure. You MUST be your own advocate!

  18. gwen Reply

    I hear all the voices and those that will never be heard. I am deeply ashamed of the medical community, I am an RN and victim of a bad device( da Vinci) and a doctor w/o a conscious, we call these people antisocial personalities. I was 48 and had never had surgery other than r hand carpal tunnel. I never consented to the da Vinci device, nor was it on the consent form. I was told I would have lap surgery for uterine fibroids and a cyst on my left ovary. I put the surgery off for 2 yrs because I just did not have a lot of confidence in the medical system. I was assured it was routine, 30 min procedure. The Dr. did a Dino 3 wks before surgery to see how big the fibroids were and to look at the cyst. She never told me that they were the size of a 5 month pregnant woman and it blocked the ovary, so she could not see the cyst. This info would have made me not a candidate for lap surgery, but she did it anyway. It took 4 hrs. I got back to the room no Foley catheter, and every time I went to bathroom I was spraying urine and it felt like fire. I was so sick, and stayed in the hospital an extra day. If the Dr. had left the catheter in she would have known I was not draining into the bladder, but she knew that- she took the Foley out in the OR, knowing that the surgery was complicated. I got sent home and was in pain for 4 days, I called the Dr. all day no return call. Left messages that I could not bear weight on my left leg, no return call. Called 911 in Er ft scan done and I was leaking throughout my pelvic area, Dr. Came looked scared, and said you are leaking urine and I called in a urologist. Url, came and said your jester is torn away from bladder has to be fixed. Surgery the next day, opened my abdomen up, senthome with drains , a catheter, pain was UNCONTROLLABLE, my friend was with me. Stayed 7-8 days afraid I would get an infection, went home to return a week later, leaking profusely, called the ob/gyn, she never called back, took myself by cab to ER. treated like garbage, had to call 911 while in ER to be transported to another hospital and yelled and screamed , I am leaking I just had surgery somebody needs to examine me. This was not an ERthat took trauma, run of the mill, icolds, flu, sick babies. I went to the floor then to surgery the next day. Went home and repeat. OB would never called back I ended up in Er 3 more times and 3 more surgeries. During one procedure a radiologist left an instrument inside of me and refused to tell me what happened. I had 6 surgeries.
    No one ever apologized, every surgery was made to look like they were not related. The nurses never knew why I was there the documentation was vague, checklists. I called the head of the hospital lvm, text messages and never received a call back. A nursing advocate took a report, but it ended up being NOTHING. No one took responsibility. The urologist saved my life , he was very kind, and took very good care, but he would never implicate the first surgeon, but he did say repeatedly that he was sorry.

  19. Lynn Reply

    I agree with everything posted on this page. Most alarming is the nurse that says she would not have this done. I live in Orange County California and will not mention the doctor’s name, but this person is very well insulated from law suits. He is nothing but a car salesman. He has had so many problems over the use of the robot that he has now resorted to hormone replacement therapy practice. He even noted at my last visit, “this makes me question this procedure.” Well—too late for me. Not sure what I have going on. I cannot sit down. Literally—I cannot sit down for more than an hour. I have this strange pain at the main incision site that will not go away. And I can see (and so can my husband) the huge indentation in my muscle. Also, I have trouble sitting at a dinner table at a restaurant. My incision sites are higher up than normal because my fibroids were so big. Please, if you are contemplating robotic surgery—just do not do it. This is something that one would see in a sci fi movie—stay away from it. The company simply wants to make money.

  20. Debra Reply

    In Sept 2012 I had a partial hysterectomy, bladder and rectum lift. I had a great experience with the surgery but my recovery took allot longer than I expected. After months of feeling blah I was finally getting my life back when I passed out and fell on my bottom. To make a long story short I ended up with a compression fracture in y L2 vertebrae and a L5 herniated disc that has created sciatica pain (not fun). I have been in traction for months which has helped the disc situation BUT I went for X-ray’s today and my pelvic bone, pubic bone and sacrum are all crooked. I have had this feeling that my surgery has affected my healing and I was reading how they attach the mesh to a ligament in the sacrum and it is my sacrum that will not stay in place now. I do not even know what to do, if I should just go to my primary Doc and tell her what my Chiro and neurosurgeon have discovered, or go to the surgeon who did the treatment to see what he says. I feel scar tissue has formed and has added insult to injury so to speak. Anyone else had issues with your sacrum and pelvic bone after this surgery? THANK YOU!!

  21. Dee Reply

    The da Vinci is such a dangerous device yet no one is taking any action to get it removed from the market. And it is luring even more women into destructive hysterectomies with empty promises of quicker recoveries.

    Unfortunately, hysterectomy, regardless of surgical method, is a destructive surgery. The severing of the uterine ligaments, the pelvis’ support structures, destroys skeletal integrity causing the spine to collapse/compress, the hip bones to widen, and the rib cage to fall leading to the post-hysterectomy figure and chronic back and hip pain.

    It compromises bladder and bowel function since the uterus is no longer there to separate them and hold them in their proper positions. Adhesions can cause additional problems such as bowel obstruction, a medical emergency.

    Since the uterus is a sex organ, loss of sexual function is a common complaint. Studies show a 2x increased risk of heart disease after hysterectomy and a 5x risk when the ovaries are removed. There are many more increased health risks associated with female organ removal. INTACT women’s ovaries produce hormones into a woman’s 80’s. These hormones are essential to every aspect of health. Yet a recent study shows that ovary removal is still a common practice with a whopping 78% of women ages 45-64 losing healthy ovaries during hysterectomy and that “at no age is oophorectomy associated with increased survival.”

    Watch the Youtube video titled “female anatomy the functions of the female organs.”

  22. Dee Reply

    As mentioned in my previous comment, not only are hysterectomies and oophorectomies destructive surgeries from which there is NO recovery, only about 2% are done for a cancer diagnosis making 98% unnecessary.

    Particularly disturbing is the fact that hysterectomy is still the primary emphasis in medical schools and residency programs. Most hysterectomies are done for fibroids and/or heavy bleeding, both of which have much less invasive / drastic treatments. Yet myomectomy to remove the fibroids and preserve the uterus is not even a required surgery for residents! Accredited residency programs require that a MINIMUM of 70 hysterectomies be done by each resident – However, the average number done by each resident (Natl Res AVE) is much higher (114) per this 2012-2013 chart – And the maximum performed per resident was 533! So on average, 139,000 hysterectomies (114 x 1220 residents) are done for training purposes. That is a much higher percentage than the 2% cancer rate.

    Additionally suspect is that these grossly overused and harmful surgeries (hysterectomy and oophorectomy) are NOT on ACOG’s Choosing Wisely list –

  23. Teresa Reply

    I have a page called unplug the robot on Facebook. Many who have been injured have told their stories there or post information.

  24. Anita Reply

    i had a hysterectomy w the da Vinci robotic and right from the get go I told my surgeon I get I had a hernia up high near the main incision the bigger incision . He told me wait 6 months to fully heal in the interim after surgery they really didn’t give me any answers or seem to want to be bothered once surgery was over. It’s been 3 years needless to say my stomach is lopsided and the pain is getting worse up there sitting is uncomfortable and exercising too. Not sure where to turn. I feel if I go back to him he will stroke me because he won’t want to assume responsibility .

  25. lisa Reply

    For those of you with pain that continues with no relief ask for a referral for physical therapy. It is one of the few things that can provide some relief. I know it sounds crazy but for nerves it is helpful. I go to women’s physical therapy. They can give you special exercises, it is the only thing that helps the pain if you stick with it. Good luck to all of you.

  26. Angela Reply

    I had the Robotic Surgery done four year’s ago! I felt fine other than hormone changes. I just feel like I’m 20 and also been spotted. My friend believes that the doctor might have made a mistake and not have taken all my reproductive organ’s. The doctor said he had to take them was because I had cancer and it all had to be removed. I haven’t got check by a dr since than and I was suppose to get checked and my doctor all a sudden up and moved. I took a pregnancy test today and it came up negative. I still have light cycles and I have light period’s. I feel fine and no problem’s and my sexual drive is high and I feel like I still have hormone’s. I still feel like I have my sex organ’s. I will go to my doctor and she is very concern for me and want’s to do a paps smear on me. The new Dr that Took my old Doctor’s place told me I never had cancer. I was upset and hurt bout the whole idea because I wanted to have another baby. I will have myself checked and like I said I feel nothing wrong with me and if he didn’t remove them all ,I would like to see if I have my overies and fallopian tubes and if so I would love to have a uterus implant. The doctor’s should not tell there patient’s they have cancer and than to come to find out from another doctor , you never had cancer. I pray that I might be able to have a baby and not be scarred for the rest of my life. I’m as healthy as a twenty year old!!! Keep me in your prayer’s for a true miracle for God to bless me with a baby. Thank you!!

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