The DaVinci surgery system is a human-operated robotic system that is often used for gynecological and urological procedures. The manufacturer of the device, Intuitive Surgical Inc., claims that the machine is more precise than human doctors and is less likely to cause complications. During treatment, the doctor interfaces with a control console and viewfinder. While interfacing, the doctor’s movements are translated into fine motor adjustments that the robotic arms perform. The system consists of several arms that can hold medical tools and an onboard camera the doctor sees through. The cost of the system is prohibitive at around $2 million, but many experts believe it is no better than traditional laparoscopic treatment. Many people have also filed suit against Intuitive, asserting that the system caused injuries and that the company used improper marketing techniques to sell the device.
In 2012, more than 200,000 procedures were completed by the DaVinci surgery system. Intuitive has asserted that the additional precision when working with robotics means that fewer complications and injuries should occur. However, there have been many reports of burns, tears and cuts to organs, blood vessels and arteries. In some cases, these injuries resulted in serious internal bleeding or hemorrhaging and dehincenses. Dehincenses are organ ruptures that cause fluid leaking. Fluids that escape from organs can cause major health concerns and infections. If these fluids leech into the bloodstream, they can result in septic infections, which can kill rather quickly.
Fistulas have also been reported in some instances of DaVinci surgery. A fistula usually refers to a diseased connection of tissue between two organs. Fistulas may be harmless or they may cause health complications due to fluid leakage or abscessing. Some people have also experienced physical trauma to internal organs, particularly to the uterus or bowels. Damage to the abdominal cavity or intestines can lead to fatal infections or sepsis.
Several lawsuits have been filed against Intuitive in regards to the DaVinci surgery system. During a wrongful death lawsuit in April, the victim’s family stated that the robotic procedure resulted in fatal heart failure. The family’s lawyer asserted that there were several errors committed during the treatment that led to the sudden onset of the disease. Bizarre injuries have also occurred while using the device, including electrocution caused by poorly insulated parts. In one instance, a woman claims she was hit in the face by the machine while it was in motion.
There have been reports that the device is difficult for doctors to learn. This may be due to the fact that the machine was marketed to less skilled professionals. Ryan Rhodes, the director of marketing for Intuitive, testified that the company circulated internal memos that suggested the company do this. This marketing ensured that the doctors that purchased the system were, on average, less skilled than those without it. Attorneys involved in cases related to the DaVinci surgery system have asserted that this form of marketing was negligent and put patients in danger. The device is still reliant on the ability of the doctor and cannot perform the procedure autonomously.
Anyone who has been injured while receiving this form of surgery should consider contacting a personal injury lawyer. These experts are familiar with preceding case law and can help a victim present their case effectively to the court.