Technology has provided remarkable advancements in the field of medicine. But sometimes new technologies are deployed before their safety and efficacy can be proven. One of the latest technological developments in medicine is robotic-assisted surgeries, in which the surgeon employs robots to aid in minimally invasive procedures. In theory, these machines improve patient outcomes by making it easier for surgeons to perform complex operations. However, sometimes these procedures go disastrously wrong, leaving patients worse off than they were before the surgery.
If you’ve been injured as a result of a robot-assisted surgery, the medical malpractice attorneys at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. are here to help you seek justice for your losses. During our nearly four decades in practice, our lawyers have recovered more than $1.5 billion in compensation for our clients. To learn how we can help you, contact us now for a free consultation.
Can I Sue a Hospital for Negligence After a Robotic Surgery?
Robotic surgical assistants are usually referred to as “decision aides.” This means that the doctor using the robot is ultimately responsible for the patient’s care and the outcome of the surgery. This is because robots are currently designed as tools to supplement a patient’s care. They are not supposed to be in charge of what happens to the patient. However, there are situations in which problems with the medical device may occur.
Ultimately, victims of robotic surgery malpractice may sue the doctor, hospital, or other medical facility for negligence. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the manufacturer or designer of the robotic device may bear some responsibility, as well.
When you choose Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. to handle your claim, our team will conduct an extensive investigation into what happened so we can determine all potential liable parties.
Who Is Liable for Medical Technology?
Robots and other high-tech medical devices may be employed to limit the possibility of human error during surgery. But these devices are not immune from errors themselves.
A robotic surgical assistant may be defectively designed or manufactured. It may have a defective part, or there may be a fault in its programming that causes it to make a critical error. In these instances of robotic surgery malfunctions, the manufacturer or designer of the device can be held liable for the injuries caused.
Complications with Robotic Surgeries
As robotic surgeries have become more common, we’re finding more examples of how these devices can malfunction or not perform at the level they need to, leading to serious harm. One study found that between 2000 — when the first robotic surgical assistant was approved by the Food and Drug Administration — and 2013, there were 10,624 negative outcomes as a result of robotic surgeries. (In this context, negative outcomes refer to deaths, serious injuries, the device breaking down, additional surgery being required, etc.)
That same study found that between 2004 and 2011, an average of 550 unwanted outcomes occurred for every 100,000 robotic surgery procedures. In 2013, that rate reached 1,000 unwanted outcomes per 100,000 procedures.
The makers of these robotic surgical assistants are well aware of the potential damage they can cause. Intuitive Surgical Inc., the maker of the popular da Vinci Surgical System, warns on its website that the risks of using its product include bleeding, infection, internal scarring, the loss of medical instruments inside a patient’s body, the need for additional surgery, and other complications.
News reports indicate that thousands of lawsuits have been filed against Intuitive over surgeries that took place between 2004 and 2013. During that time, Intuitive robots performed about 1.7 million procedures. In 2014, the company set aside $67 million to settle an undisclosed number of claims. It was also the subject of a recall over a tip cover for its da Vinci robots, which could crack and break, causing electrical current to arc and injure patients.
Examples of Robotic Surgery Malpractice
Here are a few examples of robotic surgery malpractice that have emerged as more people have been harmed in these procedures:
- One patient suffered a torn colon and rectum as the result of a botched surgery, requiring a temporary colostomy and additional surgery to correct the damage.
- One patient bled to death following an accidental laceration to a main artery during a hysterectomy.
- One patient suffered extensive scarring on the neck during a routine thyroid removal surgery. The damage needed to be corrected with plastic surgery.
- One patient suffered a perforated bowel and an infection as the result of a robotic surgery. Additionally, the patient suffered internal burns due to electrical current arcing from the robot during the procedure.
- Another patient undergoing a robot-assisted hysterectomy reported that she suffered a prolapsed bowel through her vagina, resulting in a massive infection, additional surgeries, and the eventual removal of her right fallopian tube.
Time Limit for Filing a Malpractice Claim
Illinois law gives patients two years from the date of their injury, or from the date that they discovered their injury, to file a medical malpractice claim. If you miss that deadline, you will most likely lose any chance of recovering compensation.
How Our Chicago Robotic Surgery Malpractice Lawyers Can Help You
If you have been injured as a result of robot surgery, you need a skilled and knowledgeable legal team to demand justice for you. Here’s what the robotic surgery malpractice lawyers at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. can do for you:
- Launch an immediate investigation into your claim to determine who was responsible for your injuries
- Make sure all the necessary paperwork for your claim is filled correctly and on time, with extensive supporting documentation
- Work with respected experts who can testify on your behalf about the cause of your injuries
- Find the doctors you need to correct any damage done by the robotic surgery
- Negotiate the maximum possible settlement while simultaneously preparing your case for trial, should the need to go to court arise
To learn more about how our Chicago robotic surgery lawyers can help you, contact us now for a free consultation.