Our law firm is handling da Vinci robotic surgery lawsuits. At one time, these were product liability lawsuits. Now, our lawyers are only handling da Vinci surgical system lawsuits in which there are catastrophic injuries or wrongful death and a doctor or hospital is to blame. We are not handling da Vinci product liability lawsuits.
da Vinci Surgeries and Why Hospitals Are a Part of the Problem
Technology is about the biggest and latest thing. That’s why we upgrade our cellphones, get the latest iPad, and demand bigger televisions. It’s also why hospitals can’t help themselves. They continue to flock to da Vinci robotic surgery system in droves, and they force their physicians to learn the technology.
Without a doubt, the technology is impressive. If you can stomach watching actual surgery, this hysterectomy is a video demonstration. If you can’t stomach it, watch this to watch a Johns Hopkins surgeon use it to play the “Operation” board game (never mind that it doesn’t look properly connected to the board game).
We have daily Google Alerts for daVinci, and it seems like every day – even now – another hospital puts out a press release that they are equipped and ready to use the system. The question is, are these hospitals rushing in with a blind eye toward their own liability and (more importantly) patient safety?
Doctors are effectively being forced to use the machines, whether they are properly trained, and regardless of whether they feel comfortable. The hospitals who buy the machines want to get their money’s worth, and they want to be able to tout their use of these machines. The more surgeries the device is used for, the better the hospital’s “statistics” for their brochures and other marketing.
Many doctors familiar with the da Vinci robotic surgery system have opined that competence with the device requires between 200 and 750 surgeries. Our lawyers doubt that most hospitals are investing that in that degree of training. The first 750 patients are essentially “practice cases.” You can bet those patients are not told about the number of robotic surgeries performed by their doctor.
The FDA reports almost 5,000 deaths and adverse events because of the da Vinci devices. Patients go into surgery believing the hospital’s hype about minimally-invasive procedures, tiny scars, and quicker recovery times.
To be sure, a good experience may be marginally better than standard surgery. However, the risks are significant, and patients are not properly informed about the risks and alternatives. The real question is whether robotic surgery is worth it.
A Johns Hopkins study revealed that “There’s never been a study showing clinical superiority. For the patient, there’s clearly no difference.”
Patients should be told that there are between two and five deaths per month with the da Vinci. These devices are most commonly used for common and routine procedures that should rarely, if ever, result in death: hysterectomies, prostate surgeries, and laparoscopic surgeries.