Robotic Surgical Systems Carry Unexpected Risks Of Injury and Death
Robotic surgical procedures have revolutionized the operating room, and nearly 700,000 surgeries are assisted by a robotic system on a yearly basis. This technology has its advantages, as it can help minimize the stress or fatigue that surgeons endure on a daily basis.
No technology is perfect, however, and robot-assisted surgeries can be risky. Certain systems are less reliable than others, and widely used products such as the da Vinci Surgical System have been linked to an alarming number of injuries caused by defects.
For this post, we’re looking at the ways in which robotic surgery products such as the da Vinci Surgical System can cause serious injury or death due to defective design or faulty hardware. These issues are more common than many patients suspect, which is why it’s important that everyone understands the risks inherent in surgeries performed or assisted by robotic systems.
What Type of Injuries can Occur During a Robotic Surgery?
Hardware errors and defective operations have been reported widely, with many of the complaints directed at Intuitive Surgical, the company behind the da Vinci Surgical System. A large portion of these reports involve an error where the robotic hand “locks” and refuses to release tissue, causing damage in the process. In other instances, the device has damaged nearby tissue or organs with unexpected or erratic movements.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reported these and other types of injuries involving defective or faulty robot operation during robotic-assisted surgeries:
- Electrical burns
- Improper suturing
- Internal bleeding and scarring
- Sexual dysfunction
Further complications can arise from these injuries, many which can lead to long-term illness or even death.
When someone suffers injury or death as a result of a robotic surgery, it’s possible for the surgical robot companies to be held liable if the product was known to be defective or problematic. Injured parties are often able to seek compensation via an attorney who builds a case on their behalf.
Determining Liability with the Help of a Legal Nurse Consultant
Cases like these fall under product liability, which means that two things must be established: There must be a defect in the surgical robotic system or other related products, and the victim’s injury or death needs to be a result of this defect.
While the FDA’s reports paint a clear picture of defective or problematic hardware, particularly with the da Vinci surgical system, individual cases can be more difficult to prove, especially when you consider how complex the medical side of the facts can become. This is why attorneys collaborate with legal nurse consultants on a variety of medical malpractice and product liability cases.
Legal nurse consultants are medical professionals who tap into their medical expertise in order to answer questions, illustrate facts, and serve as an authority on any medical facts that are relevant to a case. They can strengthen a case by conducting research on surgery robotics manufacturers and product lines, analyzing the medical facts surrounding the surgery and the injuries, prepare detailed reports demonstrating clear correlation between product defects and injuries, and more.
Legal nurse consultants also collaborate with other medical experts such as doctors who offer expert testimony on behalf of the victim. They play an invaluable role in asserting whether a patient suffered an injury or death at the hands of negligent or dishonest surgery robot companies.
Learn More About What Legal Nurse Consultants Do
This is just a brief glimpse into the vital role that legal nurse consultants and other medical experts play within the legal arena. To learn more, we invite you to reach out to us at 877.211.7562. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have.