Causes Of Injuries Due To The da Vinci Surgical System

by Terry Bryant

As medicine adds newer and newer technologies to its arsenal, it’s only natural that doctors would begin incorporating technologies like the da Vinci surgical system. This device is used in a variety of laparoscopic and gynecological surgeries, and was originally billed as a safer alternative to traditional surgery. During a procedure, a surgeon controls the device’s movement, and because it can move in ways that a human can’t, it is supposed to be safer. However, many people have been hurt by the system, casting doubt on this claim.

The technology has been implicated in a lot of burn and hemorrhaging injuries, most of them caused by the robot’s uninsulated arms. During surgery, the da Vinci system can accidentally deliver an unchecked electrical burst through these arms, burning internal organs or severing arteries.

Though one current lawsuit claims that the system has significant design flaws, most point to user error as the cause of the injury. When a hospital purchases the technology, the manufacturer, Intuitive Surgical, offers two days of training to hospital personnel. Intuitive claims that this short training period is all that’s required to bring surgeons up to speed, but some doctors who have used the system have claimed that it takes hundreds of uses to get comfortable with the device. As a result, many injuries that have been caused by the system were the result of doctors not familiar with its capabilities.