Our law firm is handling da Vinci robotic surgery medical malpractice lawsuits. 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?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 involved 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.DaVinci Malpractice Settlements and Verdicts
Below are stories of cases where the surgeon or medical team made a mistake during a daVinci procedure.
- 2021, Virginia: $700,000 Settlement. A 56-year-old man suffered from chronic cholecystitis. The general surgeon recommended a da Vinci robot-assisted cholecystectomy. During the procedure, the surgeon could not determine the location of the structures that surrounded the gallbladder. She accidentally cut the man’s common hepatic duct as a result. The surgeon eventually observed bile leakage. She used Firefly technology to confirm it. The surgeon consulted another surgeon, who performed a Roux-en-Y hepaticojejunostomy. Following the procedure, the man spent three weeks in the hospital. Seven months later, the man spent four days in the hospital. He alleged negligence against the general surgeon. The man claimed she failed to properly view his structures and halt the procedure to address the surgical error. This case settled for $700,000.
- 2020, Virginia: $950,000 Settlement. A 57-year-old man underwent a da Vinci-assisted prostatectomy. The surgeon placed him in the Trendelenburg position. The procedure took seven hours. Upon waking up, the man suffered severe bilateral calf pain. A consulted orthopedic surgeon ruled out compartment syndrome. The man was diagnosed with a crush injury. He developed Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome. The man was left with dysesthesia and chronic pain. He alleged that the surgeon’s use of the Trendelenburg position caused permanent injuries. This case settled for $950,000.
- 2019, Illinois: $3,000,000 Verdict. A woman underwent a da Vinci-assisted myomectomy. She experienced hypotension near the end of the surgery. The woman developed an air embolism. She died from cardiac arrest. The woman’s family alleged negligence against the surgeon. They claimed she failed to figure out what caused the hypotension and address the air embolism. The family received a $3,000,000 verdict.
- 2018, Pennsylvania: $345,000 Settlement. An 81-year-old woman underwent a da Vinci-assisted ventral hernia repair. She suffered bowel perforations. The woman died from a post-surgical infection. Her family alleged negligence against the surgeon. They claimed he negligently perforated her bowel, failed to perform an emergency revision, and failed to receive informed consent for the hernia repair. This case settled for $345,000.
- 2018, Indiana: $1,040,000 Settlement. A woman underwent a da Vinci-assisted femoral nerve schwannoma removal. Following the procedure, she sustained permanent femoral nerve, hip, neck, knee injuries. The woman also suffered emotional distress. She alleged negligence against the surgeon. The woman received a $250,000 settlement from Intuitive, da Vinci's manufacturer. She also received a $790,000 settlement from Indiana’s patient compensation fund.
- 2017, Michigan: $1,500,000 Settlement. A woman underwent a da Vinci-assisted hysterectomy. During the procedure, the surgeon unintentionally cut her inferior vena cava. The surgical team then infused about 20 liters of blood and stapled her iliac veins. They subsequently performed four compartment fasciotomies. The surgical team left her abdomen open to avert compartment syndrome. This caused excessive hemorrhaging. The woman suffered a heart attack, respiratory failure, kidney failure, liver shock, hypervolemia, and encephalopathy. She underwent multiple repair procedures. Two weeks later, the woman received additional treatments for her post-surgical symptoms, including re-intubation. She developed right foot gangrene. The woman spent several months in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities. She underwent a right foot amputation. The woman now required attendant care. She alleged negligence against the surgical team. The woman claimed they negligently used the da Vinci device and delayed vascular treatments. The case settled for $1,500,000.
- 2016, Missouri: $47,907 Verdict. A woman underwent a da Vinci-assisted hysterectomy. She suffered vaginal cuff dehiscence and abdominal adhesion. The woman then underwent multiple repairs. Several days later, she presented to the surgeon with pain and bowel movement issues. The surgeon identified a vaginal vault defect. He administered silver nitrate on it. The woman alleged negligence against the surgeon. She claimed he failed to receive her informed consent, disclosed the procedure’s risks, and timely address her post-surgical complications. The woman received a $47,907 verdict.
- 2013, Oregon: $110,513 Verdict. A woman underwent a da Vinci-assisted Salpingo-oophorectomy. The surgeon left the device’s trocar sheath inside the woman. Following the procedure, he determined that the organ removals were unnecessary. Three years later, the woman continued to experience complications. A CT scan revealed foreign objects in her pelvis. Two months later, the woman had them removed. She and her husband alleged negligence against the initial treating surgeon. They claimed he negligently left foreign objects in the woman and removed healthy organs. The jury awarded $110,513.
- 2012, Illinois: $7,522,032 Verdict. A man underwent a da Vinci-assisted splenectomy. During the procedure, the surgical team perforated his duodenum. Following the procedure, the man suffered tachycardia and respiratory distress. One week later, he underwent an exploratory laparotomy. The man received a peritonitis diagnosis. He sustained a sepsis-related anoxic brain injury, necrotizing fasciitis, and respiratory distress. The man underwent another exploratory laparotomy the following week. He was diagnosed with two duodenum perforations. The man died several weeks later. His family alleged negligence against the surgical team. They claimed they perforated the man’s duodenum, failed to recognize the perforation, delayed the peritonitis diagnosis, and failed to timely respond to his condition. The jury awarded the family $7,522,032.
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.