Da Vinci Robotic Surgery Malpractice Lawsuit Results in $100K Verdict

  • Written by: Irvin Jackson
  • 1 Comment

In an Oregon medical malpractice lawsuit, a jury awarded $100,000 in damages to a woman who experienced complications following da Vinci robotic surgery due to an allegedly unnecessary procedure where foreign objects were left in her body.  

The trial involved a complaint filed by by Michelle Elsey against Dr. Daniel Laury, which claimed that the gynecologist removed a healthy ovary during robotic surgery in 2007. Elsey also claimed that the da Vinci robot malfunctioned and a laparoscopy sheath and extraneous coils were found in her body during a CT scan more than three years later.

Elsey underwent the surgery after experiencing pelvic pain, and the complaint alleged that a misdiagnosis resulted in the removal of her right ovary, fallopian tube and her appendix. The organs later were determined to be healthy and the surgery unnecessary.

According to a report by the Insurance Journal, Elsey sought nearly $1 million in damages against Dr. Laury and the jury awarded $10,500 for medical expenses and another $100,00 for pain and suffering.

The trial came amid increasing concerns nationwide about injuries and problems associated with robotic surgery procedures, which have become more popular in recent years. Intuitive Surgical, the manufacturer of the da Vinci robot, has faced criticism for aggressively marketing of robotic surgery and issues surrounding the extent of training provided for physicians.

The da Vinci Surgical System is a remote control robot featuring four arms that are controlled by a surgeon through the use of hand and foot controls while sitting at a console that provides a virtual reality representation of the patient’s internal organs. The surgical robot is commonly used for a number of different urologic, laparoscopic, gynecologic and non-cardiovascular thoracoscopic surgical procedures and thoracoscopically assisted cardiotomy procedures.

A study presented last month at the 42nd AGL Global Congress on Minimally Invasive Gynecology found that 21% of da Vinci robot surgery injuries involved operator error, with 14% of complications involving robot failure.

While Elsey’s lawsuit did not name Intuitive Surgical as a defendant, the manufacturer faces a number of da Vinci robotic surgery lawsuits brought on behalf of former patients who allege that problems with the machine caused them to suffer burns, tears and other internal injuries.

Earlier this month, the FDA announced a da Vinci robot recall that impacted about 1,400 components, indicating that the robot’s arms could stall during surgery. The recall came after at least three complaints of stalling. In one case the problem led to an imprecise cut during robot surgery.

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1 comment

  1. Kevin Reply

    I underwent robotic surgery back in August 16 of 2013 and have been having pains and worse for the past almost 2 years on August 16 . When i had the surgery i was in the hospital for over a month and was let go without being able to go to the bathroom.We asked the surgeon if it was safe to leave the hospital and he said yeah that it wouldn’t be a problem but in reality caused several problems over the weeks and he would not admit that the surgery was done incorrectly he ended up referring us to another doctor who then told us that my stomach structure was to tight and that they had left my stomach at an angel so i had to undergo over 6 dilatations by balloon and tube. I have gotten two more medical problems due to the surgery done incorrectly and have gone through pain and suffering for the past almost two years . Anyone Know of a lawyer i could use

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