Investor Files Intuitive Surgical Class Action Lawsuit Over da Vinci Robot

Intuitive Surgical faces yet another class action lawsuit over the da Vinci Surgical System, alleging that the company misrepresented information to investors about potential problems with the surgical robot, which has been linked to reports of serious and fatal complications.  

Darian Adel filed an Intuitive Surgical class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on May 24, alleging that federal securities laws were violated when the company issued false and misleading statements about the safety and effectiveness of da Vinci robot surgery.

The complaint (PDF) seeks class action status to represent all investors who purchased common stock in Intuitive Surgical between October 19, 2011 and April 18, 2013. The stock price has fallen dramatically in recent months amid mounting information about reports of injuries and deaths suffered following robotic surgery involving the da Vinci Surgical System, which is Intuitive Surgical’s main product.

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Adel alleges that Intuitive Surgical withheld information about reports of da Vinci surgery complications, which inflated the company’s stock value. The price of Intuitive Surgical shares have plummeted this year following a series of revelations about problems linked to the surgical robot, including a number of da Vinci product liability lawsuits filed on behalf of patients who suffered injuries.

Da Vinci Problems Taking Spotlight

The lawsuit points out that in February, the FDA sent out a survey to doctors asking them to detail any da Vinci complications they had experienced.

This was followed by media reports of da Vinci robot problems and undisclosed settlements between Intuitive Surgical and injured patients. Then, on March 14, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) warned against the use of robotic surgery for hysterectomies, saying “there is no good data proving that robotic hysterectomy is even as good as — let alone better — than existing, and far less costly, minimally invasive alternatives.”

The da Vinci Surgical System is a complex robot that can be used in a number of surgical procedures to provide a less invasive surgery, which reduces recovery time. The device is controlled by a surgeon looking at a virtual reality representation of the patient’s internal organs and manipulating its four metal arms with hand and foot controls.

The da Vinci robot costs between $1 million and $2.25 million for a hospital to purchase, depending on the model. It then costs another $140,000 a year in maintenance and between $1,500 and $2,000 for replacement parts after every robotic surgery.


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