Medical malpractice may result from surgical arm malfunctions

By Drazin & Warshaw | April 16th, 2013

New technology in medicine has a dual affect on society. On the one hand, innovation and progress in the medical field may result in finding cures, perfecting surgical techniques and faster recovery methods. On the other hand, new medical technology could lead to an increase in surgical errors and medical malpractice suits. Patients are often drawn to new and groundbreaking surgical techniques, but pursuing new treatment options could also mean facing more dangers on the operating table.

Last year, nearly 400,000 surgeries nationwide involved an armed robot known as “da Vinci” in the operating room. Patients across the nation are seeking operations from this highly-promoted technology, but the risks associated with this medical wonder are often lost in patients’ excitement about new and state-of-the-art methods. Reports show several problems with this high-tech medical aid, which could have contributed to numerous deaths. The robotic arm reportedly has malfunctioned during surgeries, causing incidents such as the patient being struck in the face during the operation.

In the last year, five deaths have been reported, and at this time, it is unclear if the robotic arm caused these deaths. When a patient undergoes a medical procedure with an advanced technology like this one, it is crucial that an investigation is conducted if the patient suffers any injuries after surgery or dies after the operation. If causation is determined after the investigation is conducted, then the patient or the family of the patient could file a medical malpractice claim. Compensation awarded would go towards any financial burdens like medical bills, funeral costs, rehabilitation, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Patients and loved ones of those undergoing surgery should be aware of the risks associated with any procedure. Gaining familiarity could help them identify incidences of medical negligence that occur during the surgery. The complexities related to a medical malpractice suit can be overwhelming, so seeking the advice of a professional in the field can often be very beneficial to anyone dealing with possible medical malpractice suits.

Source: Kennebec Journal, “FDA taking closer look at surgeries using robot,” Lindsey Tanner, April 9, 2013

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