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da Vinci Robot Surgery Injuries: Malpractice or Bad Product?

Lawsuits Involving da Vinci Robot Malpractice and Defective Product Suits

Our law firm is handling da Vinci robotic surgery product liability and medical malpractice lawsuits. We think the chances of relatively quick settlements for some of these cases - particularly the product liability claims - is high. Even malpractice claims are resolving quickly - we just settled one this month. Do you have a claim or a question? Call 800-553-8082 or get a free on-line consultation.

da Vinci Overview

Even after centuries of medical advances, technology has never been able to account for human error – but not for lack of trying. The da Vinci Surgical System is a four-armed robot designed to give surgeons greater control and precision during operations. The device resembles a video game – using joystick controls and foot pedals, the surgeon maneuvers robotic arms inside the patient to perform intricate surgeries. Although da Vinci has helped doctors successfully perform a variety of difficult operations, ranging from cancer and kidney to esophageal and cardiac surgeries, the device is not perfect. There are risks that da Vinci will malfunction, and as the saying goes, the tool is only as good as its user. So how would a patient injured by a da Vinci device bring a lawsuit? Well, the problem is there is often a problem with the user and the tool. Accordingly, there are two different types of civil tort possibilities in these cases: a product liability or a medical malpractice claim.

Product Liability da Vinci Lawsuit

First, the injured patient can bring a product liability lawsuit. There are three general categories of defective product cases: defective design, defective manufacturing, and lack of adequate warnings or instructions. When it comes to the these semi-automated procedures, patients should be aware of all three concerns. First, there may be design defects that compromise the safety of the device. A design defect means that the manufacturer blueprint for the system has a fundamental flaw that caused an injury. For example, cases have been documented where electrical current entering the da Vinci system jumped to the patient during surgery, causing severe burns that led to death. If the da Vinci device lacks the sufficient insulation to protect against electric current, or allows too much current, this may constitute a claim for defective design.

Alternatively, manufacturing defects can occur when a specific device leaves the factory imperfectly constructed. For example, one of the surgical arms could have been improperly assembled, or the operating software controlling the arms could have bugs.

These cases may begin to settle. There is no guarantees. But they may. Soon. For more information, call 800-553-8082 or get more information here.

Finally, and most important really, the injured patient must show that the manufacturer or seller failed to warn or properly warn patients, doctors, or hospitals about the risks of using the device and how to properly use the device. They were so busy trying to sell these expensive products, they didn't focus on the product's limitations or the training needed.

What kind of warnings are we talking about? Some of these cautions can include warnings about the dangers of using the device without adequate training, or failure to specify how much and what type of training is appropriate. In summary, an injured patient who wants to bring a product liability lawsuit can allege any combination of the three claims – defective design, defective manufacturing, or lack of adequate warnings or instructions.

It is important not to oversell this point. But settlement talks in these cases are heating up and there is a real chance these cases will get resolved. It won't happen until... it happens. but we do predict a resolution to these cases. How much? With the same caveats, we think that most cases will settle in the $150,000 to $300,000 range. Don't hold us to that but that is a best guess as to how much money the average claimant with real injuries will receive. Clearly, we expect some case to resolve for much less and others to be for much more. This is just a "most cases" prediction as to what the payouts will be.

da Vinci Malpractice Claims

Injured patients can also seek compensation through a medical malpractice claim. Under medical malpractice, patients will generally claim negligence, alleging that a health care provider made a mistake that caused the injury. For example, patients might argue that the doctor improperly operated the device, or that the nurse improperly prepared the surgical equipment. Alternatively, the patient might also allege that the doctor received inadequate training – there are accounts of hospitals pressuring doctors into using the da Vinci system although they were not prepared. Some doctors estimate that it can take up to 750 surgeries to proficiently use the device.

Although product liability and medical malpractice are legally independent, because it is often difficult to tell whether a product defect or health care provider negligence cased the injury, in many cases both claims will need to be brought simultaneously.

According to an November, 2013 study involving gynecology patients, 21% of robotic surgery complications invovled a doctor's screw-up. Another 14% of problems involved some failure by the robot itself. So that tells us malpractice is probably 50% more likely to be the cause they an problem with the machine itself.

Contact Us

If you believe that you have been injured during robotic surgery, call us toll-free at 1.800.553.8083, or online. We handle medical device product liability cases and medical malpractice cases, and we help you figure out what went wrong in your case... and why.

Client Reviews
They quite literally worked as hard as if not harder than the doctors to save our lives. Terry Waldron
Ron helped me find a clear path that ended with my foot healing and a settlement that was much more than I hope for. Aaron Johnson
Hopefully I won't need it again but if I do, I have definitely found my lawyer for life and I would definitely recommend this office to anyone! Bridget Stevens
The last case I referred to them settled for $1.2 million. John Selinger
I am so grateful that I was lucky to pick Miller & Zois. Maggie Lauer
The entire team from the intake Samantha to the lawyer himself (Ron Miller) has been really approachable. Suzette Allen
The case settled and I got a lot more money than I expected. Ron even fought to reduce how much I owed in medical bills so I could get an even larger settlement. Nchedo Idahosa