In many cases, problems following da Vinci robotic surgery would have been avoided if an alternative surgical method had been used. However, as a result of Intuitive Surgical’s aggressive promotion of their da Vinci surgery robot without providing adequate training or warnings about the risk of complications, it appears that individuals throughout the United States may have suffered severe and devastating injuries that could have been prevented.
The da Vinci surgery robot is a complex, remote controlled device that is aggressively promoted as a superior alternative to traditional surgical procedures. Despite no real evidence to establish that it is any safer, more effective or in any way superior to other surgical or laparoscopic methods, the expensive machine has been sold to hospitals throughout the country, who are then in a position where they have to push use of the surgical robot to account for the costs.
Intuitive Surgical, Inc. recently reported record profits for the first quarter of 2012, which were largely from sales generated by a marketing campaign that made hospitals believe they would be at a competitive disadvantage if they did not own the surgical robot.
The da Vinci robot costs between $1 million and $2.25 million for a hospital, plus they must pay annual maintenance costs of about $140,000 and each surgery carries a cost of about $2,000 in replacement parts.
Some estimates suggest that a hospital must perform more than 520 da Vinci surgeries a year to bring costs in line with traditional procedures.
By 2010, more than 850 hospitals in the U.S. had purchased the da Vinci surgery robot, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. To make matters worse, it appears to have been heavily targeted toward smaller hospitals, as at least 15% of the hospitals owning the da Vinci system at that time had 200 or fewer beds.
This further increases the risk of problems from da Vinci surgery, because smaller hospitals may not have enough procedures to allow doctors to become proficient with the system.
Intuitive Surgical, Inc., the manufacturer of the da Vinci system, has engaged in a multi-faceted marketing campaign, which has not only promoted the device to hospitals, but also encouraged patients to seek out physicians who use the device, recklessly creating demand without establishing that the product is safer or any more effective than alternative surgical methods. This also created a situation where many hospitals and doctors felt almost compelled to push use of the device.
Mounting evidence is now emerging that a number of individuals are experiencing devastating and life-altering injuries as a result of problems with the da Vinci robot, including burns, tears, dehincenses, hematomas, infection, fistulas and other injuries.
Many of these complications could have been avoided if traditional methods had been used. These injuries may have been prevented if Intuitive Surgical had not acted with reckless disregard for consumer safety.
According to allegations raised in da Vinci surgery lawsuits now being pursued by individuals throughout the United States, Intuitive Surgical:
- Failed to conduct or sponsor sufficient testing to determine whether in random tests the da Vinci surgery robot was safer, more effective or in any way superior to other surgical methods.
- Failed to ensure adequate training for physicians on the proper use of the device, while marketing and pricing the surgery robot in a way that induced surgeons to use the da Vinci system in situations that may increase the risk of problems.
- Failed to adequately warn physicians and patients about the true extent of the risks and problems associated with da Vinci robotic surgery.
- Failed to adequately monitor and disclose post-marketing reports of complications and da Vinci problems that have occurred in actual practice at hospitals throughout the United States.
LAWSUITS FOR DA VINCI SURGERY PROBLEMS
The product liability lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are reviewing potential injury lawsuits for individuals throughout the United States who have experienced substantial health problems following da Vinci surgery, which may have been avoided if the surgical robot had not been used. To review a potential claim for yourself, a friend or family member, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.