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Risk from Robotic Surgical Machines


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Hospitals and healthcare providers follow trends just like any other industry. One of the hottest trends right now in operating rooms is the da Vinci robot, a high-tech, multi-armed robotic system that performs surgeries in lieu of a human doctor. The belief that robotic surgeries are more reliable and efficient than regular surgeries is based on the lack of human error, as robot hands do not shake like even the best surgeon's might at times. According to our Milwaukee medical malpractice lawyer, doctors control the three- or four-armed robot from hand controls on a computer several feet from the operating table. Controlling the surgery from a computer is considered less tiring for the doctor than actually performing the full surgery, eliminating some adverse effects that doctor fatigue or other distractions may have on a patient. Promoters of the robot assert that patients who choose robotic surgery often bleed less and recover faster, often meaning less time spent in the hospital.

The da Vinci robot system, the only product manufactured by Intuitive Surgical, costs $1.8 million and upwards and the robots are now commonplace in hospitals. The da Vincis are regularly used for surgeries such as transplanting organs, fixing heart valves, removing wombs, gallbladders, and prostates, and for shrinking stomachs. Hospitals frequently advertise that they offer robotic surgeries via the Internet, billboards, and brochures, as least partly to attract more patients to help cover the cost of the expensive da Vinci systems.

FDA Investigating Risks of Robots

The Food and Drug Administration has hundreds and hundreds of reports of adverse events involving Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci robot. Some of the reported mishaps include:

  • A robot performing prostate surgery allegedly perforated the patient's colon
  • A robot nicked a blood vessel while performing a hysterectomy, causing the patient's death
  • A robotic arm performing colorectal surgery grasped tissue and would not release it – doctors were forced to do a complete system shutdown of the robot to open the grasper and release the tissue
  • A Chicago man died after routine robotic spleen surgery
  • A heavy robotic arm hit a woman in her face during a hysterectomy, prompting doctors to cease the robotic surgery and switch to a more invasive, incision-based surgery mid-procedure.

The FDA is not clear on whether increasing adverse incident reports are merely because the use of the robot has increased, because reporting has increased, or if it is actually due to a higher number of malfunctions. The agency is conducting a survey of surgeons in the United States who use the da Vinci robotic system in order to determine the true cause of rising reports.

There are risks of complications with any type of surgery, whether performed by a robot or a live doctor. The da Vinci robot has performed 1.5 million surgeries across the world, and Intuitive Surgical insists that its product is safe. Many lawsuits arising from injury or death during robotic surgeries cite insufficient training of the doctor on use of the robot, and not malfunction of the robot itself. Hopefully the FDA survey will shed light on the true extent of risks associated with robotic surgery. In the meantime, if you are injured during robotic surgery, contact an experienced Indianapolis medical malpractice attorney or Indiana medical malpractice lawyer today to discuss your claim.

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***Every case is unique and your results will differ. Contact us for a free case review of your circumstance.

– Pat D.
"After being involved in a car accident, I was very fortunate to work with Don Wruck. He explained everything to me and my family and made me feel involved in all decisions. I was very happy with the result of my case and happy to have found this firm!"
– Kayla D.
"My case wasn’t very large, but they made it easy to recover damages when the insurance company didn’t even want to cover basic costs. The firm was responsive to my inquiries, and very clear about what was required and what could be expected, during every step of the process."
– Wayne M.
"From start to finish, Wruck Paupore PC Law were the best! Knowledgeable and straightforward, they explained the process, start to finish, and gave guidance while allowing us to determine the best course of action to take. We would highly recommend them and would certainly use them again."
– Chris V.
"We are so thankful with how the lawyers and staff handled our case. The folks at Wruck and Paupore were always pleasant and helpful in all their phone calls and letters. It was always a pleasure to get their calls. We were especially pleased with their tenacious pursuit of the goal of full recovery which was far greater than we could have imagined."
– Jay Zoellner
"Attorney Wruck did an amazing job in settling my personal injury case. His knowledge and experience specific to semi truck accidents made all of the difference in the outcome of my case; the settlement exceeded my expectations! The staff at his firm was helpful, responsive and caring during a difficult time following a life-altering experience. I highly recommend Attorney Wruck and his firm."
– J B
"Attorney Wruck did an amazing job in settling my personal injury case. His knowledge and experience specific to semi-truck accidents made all of the difference in the outcome of my case; the settlement exceeded my expectations!"
– James M.
"Exceptional team. They took on my case and made sure that I was consulted on every issue. If it wasn’t for the caring staff and my legal team I don’t know what I would have done. Everyone did an awesome job thanks so much for your help."
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"It was awesome watching Donald Wruck at work during mediation. He really fights for his clients."
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"Wruck Paupore did more than they promised and did all of the work. I was worried about bills and dealing with insurance people. They did everything while I recovered. They were not concerned about earning money but about helping me and my husband."
– Edithe P.
"Don did a great job on my case! Staff was amazing! Kept me in the loop the entire time. I highly recommend!!!!"
– Dana L.
"A great experience from beginning to settlement. Handled our case from start to finish. Explained every step and communicated very well."
– William H.

Your Legal Team

Your Legal Team

Top-Rated Litigator.
Helping injury victims move forward.

Don is a founding partner and one of the nation’s top-ranked personal injury litigators. He is a member of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, which includes less than 1% of the nation’s trial lawyers, and awarded the highest ranking given by Martindale Hubbel and AVVO.

More importantly, Don understands representing personal injury victims is about more than recovering the best settlement: it’s about helping clients get back on their feet and supporting them in every aspect of their recovery.

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Understanding the Insurance Company:
Getting Results.

In nearly all cases, our clients seek compensation from the wrongdoer’s insurance company. Before forming Wruck Paupore, Jason worked for a prominent law firm representing some of the world’s largest insurers. This experience gives Jason a deep understanding of the insurance industry and the strategies it uses to pay injury victims as little as possible.

Jason -- and our entire team -- put this inside knowledge to work to force insurance companies to pay what is actually owed. Often, we use the insurance company’s own tactics against them as we fight for the full compensation our client deserves.

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More than 40 Years of Experience.
Still Fighting for Justice.

For more than four decades, Keith has been fighting for injury victims. During that time, he’s watched the insurance industry change, with insurers now more interested in protecting their stock price than treating injury victims fairly.

Since the beginning, Keith has put people first. From his childhood in Gary, Indiana during the 1960’s and working his way through law school, Keith has risen to become one of the Midwest’s most respected trial lawyers. He has never forgotten that being a lawyer is about helping people -- and seeing injury victims through struggles in a way that could change their lives forever.

Over the decades, Keith, Don and Jason have fought relentlessly for clients, even when other lawyers have said the case was impossible to win.

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***Every case is unique and your results will differ. Contact us for a free case review of your circumstance.

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