If you are considering undergoing a robotic-assisted surgical procedure, there are many factors to weigh before making a final decision. While there may be benefits to this type of surgery, there is also cause for concern.
The most common robotic device is called the da Vinci system. Since its introduction in 2000, over one million surgeries have been performed using it. However, the Food and Drug Administration recently announced it was beginning an investigation into a growing number of reported surgical errors using robotic devices.
Inadequate Training on Robotic Surgery Devices
The devices are expensive – costing well over $1 million each – plus hospitals also pay a hefty annual maintenance fee. So the pressure is on for hospitals to recoup their investment, and the only way to do so is by getting the robotic device up and running quickly, and used often. This opens up the possibility for inadequate training of surgeons. Smaller hospitals in rural Missouri, for example, may find it difficult to adequately train their surgeons before using the devices.
Robotic-assisted surgeries are much like traditional laparoscopic procedures, except that the surgical instruments, including cautery devices that control bleeding, are held by robotic arms rather than by the surgeon. This unique aspect can lead to a variety of surgical mistakes that can, and have, harmed patients.
Types of Injuries from Robotic Surgeries
With its distinctive cauterization process, patients can receive significant burns both to internal organs and to the skin.
Hysterectomies and prostate surgeries are two procedures in which robotic devices are utilized by hospitals. Unfortunately, a number of injuries have been reported with both types of these surgeries in particular.
Because surgeons aren’t holding the surgical instruments, they may lack the proper feel for their use and accidentally tear or puncture internal organs and tissues. This is especially true for surgeons with little training on robotic devices.
Some errors in robotic surgeries have resulted in the deaths of the patients. The FDA is looking into 71 such reported cases. Any of the above mentioned problems could be fatal, as well as infections or repeated surgeries required to repair robotic surgery mistakes.
Those who favor the use of robotic devices in surgery say that patients typically suffer less blood loss, have less pain following surgery, and a quicker recuperative period. But clearly there are dangers – even fatal complications – using them. If you or a loved one has suffered significant harm in a robotic-assisted surgery, an attorney experienced in medical malpractice investigationscan help obtain fair and just compensation for your injuries or loss.