Robotic technology has revolutionized mechanical manufacturing processes, but robots can’t compete with skilled surgeons when it comes to performing delicate surgical operations on fragile human tissue. There are more questions than answers about the safety of robotic surgery.
The Food and Drug Administration launched an investigation into robot-assisted surgery last year after observing a sharp increase in reports of problems with the Da Vinci Surgical System. The problems reported to the FDA included injuries and deaths during such operations as coronary artery bypass grafts and hysterectomies. Robotic tools burned and perforated tissue. In at least one case, a robotic arm’s grasping device stubbornly refused to let go of tissue in its jaws until the entire system was shut down.
In the meantime, the number of procedures performed by the Da Vinci system increased by 26 percent in 2012. The percentage of hysterectomies performed with robotic technology spiked from 0.5 percent to nearly 10 percent in just three years. Robotics add risk and cost to surgical procedures. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that robotic hysterectomies cost $2,000 more than non-robotic procedures without adding any demonstrable advantage for the surgeon or the patient.
Many of the problems connected with Da Vinci robotic surgeries go unreported. Patients who have undergone robotic surgery may not realize that complications could have occurred during their procedures. If you or one of your loved ones has had a procedure that used the Da Vinci robotic system, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss your case.