Robotic Surgery Requires Doctor Training, Court Rules By Tod Aronovitz | 04/02/13 | 0 Comment

Robotic surgery is increasingly being used in the treatment of kidney disorders, prostate removal, throat cancer, coronary artery disease, endometriosis, uterine bleeding, and obesity surgery.

Less invasive surgery can provide patients with significant medical benefits. Reduced surgical trauma, less blood loss, shorter hospital stays, and decreased risk of infection are among the many valid reasons that robotic surgery is growing in acceptance among the medical community.

The da Vinci Surgical System, manufactured by Intuitive Surgical, is one of several robotic medical devices gaining popularity at hospitals across the country. Intuitive Surgical has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for use of the da Vinci® Surgical System in the following types of operations:

  • Urology
  • Gynecology
  • Cardiothoracic
  • General Surgery
  • Colorectal
  • Head & Neck

A Word of Caution to Robotic Surgery Patients

An important caveat is emerging for patients who are considering robotic surgery, however. Doctors who are not properly trained on the use of robotic surgical devices can cause serious injury and even death among unsuspecting patients.

In Washington state court last month, Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Jay Roof ruled that a patient’s family can proceed with a wrongful death case caused by the “improper marketing of the da Vinci surgical system.” The family alleges that the surgeon who performed the 2008 prostate removal surgery had never used the da Vinci system unsupervised on a patient.

Business Week reports that there are over a dozen lawsuits filed against Intuitive since 2011 relating to alleged injuries following use of the da Vinci Surgical System.

More than 1,300 U.S. hospitals have purchased a da Vinci system, according to the company, and many have purchased two. Several Florida hospitals feature use of the da Vinci Surgical System, including the University of Miami Hospital and NCH Hospitals in Naples.

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