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New Report Anticipates Increase in Number of da Vinci Surgical Robot Injury Lawsuits

March 21, 2013

A new Citron Research investor report indicates that thousands of patients who have undergone surgical procedures involving the da Vinci surgical robot have suffered injuries and approximately 87 have died.

The data was gleaned from an analysis of 4,600 adverse event reports submitted to the FDA associated with robotic surgery. According to the report, these problems are just “the tip of the iceberg.” A particularly troubling aspect of the Citron analysis concerning the deaths is that the majority of procedures performed with the da Vinci robot are relatively routine surgical procedures.

The da Vinci Surgical System is a multi-purpose robot – the only surgical robot on the market – that can be used for surgical procedures ranging from hysterectomies, prostate surgery, heart bypass or valve repair and other surgical procedures. While the device does not replace the surgeon, it mirrors the movements of a surgeon’s hands while the surgeon manipulates two joystick-style controllers.

The Citron report analyzes FDA data in providing a forecast for investors which indicates that potential product liability lawsuits may have a negative impact on earnings generated by Intuitive Surgical, the manufacturer of the robotic surgical device. There are a number of lawsuits pending around the country that allege injuries caused by the da Vinci surgical system. This number could grow based on the growing reliance of many surgical centers on robotic surgery. Researchers at Columbia University analyzed medical records for over 264,000 women upon whom surgeons performed hysterectomies not associated with cancer in over 440 hospitals. The data revealed that the number of robotic surgeries using the da Vinci system increased from 0.5 percent to 10 percent over a four year period. When only hospitals that had acquired the robotic surgical systems were considered, at a cost of up to $2.2 million, the percentage rose to 22 percent of all hysterectomies.

The Citron report indicates that the most common injuries alleged in product liability lawsuits filed against Intuitive Surgical include injury to tissue, organs and blood vessels caused by the monopolar energy current, that arcs outside the area of the procedure when the current is utilized to burn, cauterize and cut tissue. The Citron report was based on an analysis of adverse incident reports in the FDA’s Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience (MAUDE) database. The report indicated that the most commonly reported adverse incidents were tears, cuts and punctures to organs while the second most common were electrical discharge burns. Many of the burn injuries occur when electricity is discharged to unintended tissue or at unexpected times according to the Citron report referencing reports in medical journals.

If you or someone close to you has suffered injury caused by robotic surgery, our robotic surgery attorneys are currently reviewing legal claims against Intuitive Surgical for injuries caused by the da Vinci Surgical System.

The Georgia personal injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates is available to provide effective legal representation to clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

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Category: Personal Injury

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