Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers: Safety of Robotic SurgeryAugust 31, 2015
Robot-assisted surgery is designed to help doctors perform complex, minimally invasive surgeries on areas of the body that might otherwise require traditional, open surgeries. The devices can be used to perform a variety of procedures including hysterectomies, prostate removals, weight loss surgeries, gall bladder removals, thyroid cancer surgeries, heart surgeries and organ transplants. While the technology is promising, it is not without its risks.
Concerns were raised over the safety of medical devices like the da Vinci Surgical System after a wave of lawsuits were filed against Intuitive Surgical, the device’s maker. A subsequent investigation by the FDA found numerous reports of patients who suffered severe complications attributed to the robotic surgery system. Many of the reported complications required the need for additional surgeries and, in some cases, were even fatal.
Safety experts claim the dangers stem from both the equipment itself and from surgeon’s training. While certain medical devices may be prone to defects, it is also up to the doctor operating the device to effectively manage problems when they arise. For this reason, injured patients and families of patients who have died are advised to consult a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer with experience handling cases involving both surgical error and medical product liability.
Physician Training Concerns
Sales of robotic surgery systems have skyrocketed in recent years, due in part to aggressive marketing campaigns aimed at hospitals and because of over zealous doctors eager to adopt the newest technology. Unfortunately, failure to properly train doctors and their staff on new equipment can lead to surgical mistakes, often with tragic consequences. Despite the highly sophisticated nature of robotic devices, there are currently no national or state requirements for how much training surgeons must have on these systems before they begin using them on patients. A 2013 poll of about 200 hospitals found that one third had robotic surgery programs, but no standardized training or credentialing procedures.
Equipment Failure Concerns
Robotic surgical device malfunctions are not out of the ordinary. The most common event involves an instrument cable break. Fortunately, most cable breaks can be fixed quickly and without any adverse effect on the patient. Some equipment problems; however, have resulted in serious harm to patients, including death. Robotic arms and the tools attached to them have been known to cause severe electrical burns; puncture organs; sever nerves and blood vessels; and damage heart tissue. The devices have also been linked to excessive bleeding and fatal infections following surgery. Tragically, many problems are not discovered until after they have caused extensive and irreversible injuries.
Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Obtain Maximum Compensation for Those Harmed by Robotic Surgery Systems
Medical malpractice law is extremely complex, especially in cases where it is intertwined with product liability law. Our Maryland medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton have extensive experience successfully representing both patients and families harmed by medical negligence. To discuss a possible claim with one of our highly skilled medical malpractice lawyers in Maryland, call 800-547-4LAW (4529) today or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie and Towson, allowing us to represent clients throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood and Elkridge.