Da Vinci Surgical Robot Complications

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Da Vinci Surgical Robot Complications

Thirteen years ago, Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci surgical robot was billed as an operating room breakthrough that would make surgery less invasive. The da Vinci surgical robot is a large surgical machine, operated by a surgeon with a joystick and other controls. During a Da Vinci surgery, robotic arms are placed inside the patient to burn away tissue while the diseased organ is removed. The intended minimally invasive surgeries were supposed to lead to reduced blood loss, smaller scars, and much quicker recovery times. Now, the FDA, in an effort to ascertain whether the increased injuries are because more robotic surgeries are being done, is investigating the da Vinci surgical robot’s safety record.

The da Vinci robotic surgery works like this: You (the patient) are on the operating table while the doctor sits several feet away at a console where she can operate and manipulate da Vinci’s robotic arms while watching the procedure through a 3-D viewer. It’s pretty space-age and high tech, surgery by drone, if you will. Everyone wants to be part of the future, until things go horribly wrong. The Food and Drug Administration is looking into a spike in reported problems during robotic surgeries performed with da Vinci robots.

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A DaVinci Robot can cost a hospital over $3 million over a five year period, but that price tag has not deterred hospitals from investing heavily in robotic surgical technology. According to a 2012 Chicago Tribune report, the yearly robotic hysterectomy procedure count was more than 250,000, and even more prostate removal surgeries were done with the Da Vinci system in 2011. Hospitals and surgeons are now expanding use of the machines in other procedures, from gastric bypasses to thyroid cancer surgeries, and gall bladder surgeries were just recently approved. Many U.S. hospitals are promoting robotic surgery in patient brochures, online, and even on roadside billboards as they work to attract new business and pay for the futuristic, but expensive robots.

“There is a medical arms race,” says Paul Levy, chief executive of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA. “Technologies are being adopted and becoming widespread based on the marketing prowess of equipment makers and suppliers, not necessarily on the public good.”

The majority of the hundreds of thousands of robotic surgeries performed in the U.S. each year are done safely. However, as use of the machine increases, so do reports of injuries: Since 2007, the Food and Drug Administration has received more than 250 reports of burns, cuts and infections, and over 90 deaths linked to patients who have received a robotic surgical procedure.

The manufacturer of the daVinci Robot, Intuitive Surgical, has been criticized for short-cutting FDA approval by a process known as “premarket notification,” which claims the product is similar to previously approved devices. Intuitive has also been accused of providing inadequate training and encouraging health care providers to reduce the number of supervised procedures required before a doctor is allowed to use the system without supervision.

The FDA is now looking into the recent adverse reports to determine whether the growing number of injuries reported is simply because more robotic surgeries are being done, or if they’re being caused by the machine itself or by the surgeons, who, critics argue, may be given inadequate training.

Commonly Reported Davinci Robot Complications

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  • Punctured or cut ureters
  • Sepsis
  • Surgical Burns to Arteries and/or Organs
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Peritonitis (painful and tender inflammation of the lining of the abdomen)
  • Burns and/or tears of the intestines
  • Severe bowel injuries
  • Burning of nearby organs including the intestines
  • Punctured blood vessels, organs and/or arteries
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The defective medical device attorneys at Reyes Browne Reilley Law Firm are among the nation’s top personal injury lawyers. We are committed to helping the victims of alleged Da Vinci Surgical Robot injuries receive the justice and compensation they deserve. Reyes Browne Reilley Law Firm is currently offering free case reviews in all 50 states to surgical patients injured by the Da Vinci Surgical System, or their families. If you or a loved one suffer from complications after a da Vinci obotic hysterectomy, please call a Reyes Browne Reilley Law Firm Da Vinci Surgical Robot injury lawyer at 214-526-7900, email us at help@reyeslaw.com or submit the case review form on the right.

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