Increase in Robotic Surgeries Raise Concerns

Robotic surgical equipment, now solely made in the United States by Intuitive surgical Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., has been a topic of controversy since its U.S Food and Drug Administration approval in 2000.

Recently at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, seven nurses and doctors along with a half-ton, 7- foot- tall metal and plastic robot performed robotic surgery on Paul Claus, 77, of Winthrop. Claus had a potentially cancerous polyp removed from his small intestine.

The surgeons also planned to remove his gallbladder, full of painful stones, although given the routine nature of the procedure; they admit that using the robot is “a bit like killing a fly with nuclear weapons”.

Despite its risks, many hospitals throughout the Greater Boston area perform hundreds of robotic operations each year using high-tech machinery that takes delicate, risky and inaccessible tasks out of human hands.  The complex da Vinci robots—programmed and guided remotely by humans – dud the cutting in about 1,800 cases in Boston last year, a number that is slowly rising.

The controversial da Vinci surgical robot has no shortage of critics. There have been thousands of complaints to the Food and Drug Administration in the 14 years since the earliest version was introduced.

Many doctors and health administrators are concerned that safety risks, regulatory barriers and its hefty price tag outweigh any potential benefits. Robot surgeries also produce a myriad of malpractice suits when the surgeries go wrong.

Robotic surgeries can pose increased threats to patients. Swartz & Swartz, P.C. was one of the first law firms in the nation to file suit against improperly trained surgeons causing injury to patients while using a robotic device during surgery. If you believe you have been injured due to medical negligence or a mechanical defect during a robotics procedure, please contact one of the highly experienced medical malpractice and products liability attorneys at Swartz & Swartz, P.C.  Our lawyers are here to answer your questions and discuss how to protect your legal rights. Call our Boston, Massachusetts office at (617) 742-1900, or toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.

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