Robotic devices have been used in surgical procedures for decades. From its humble beginnings as an aid to guide surgeons in complicated procedures, the technology behind medical robots has progressed rapidly. The most commonly used device in operating rooms today, the da Vinci Surgical System, allows a surgeon to conduct complex surgeries such as colectomies and mitral valve repairs without ever picking up a scalpel.
Proponents of robotically-assisted surgery point to the increased precision made possible by such devices, which can allow procedures to be conducted with minimal invasiveness. However, the history of medical robots is not without controversy; there are risks specific to robotically-assisted surgery that can result in lasting damage, providing grounds for both product liability and medical negligence lawsuits.
Surgeons are trained to use their eyes and hands to perform intricate and complex medical procedures. The promise of robotic technology is that is enhances the abilities of the surgeon, enabling them to perform these procedures with greater precision. However, many medical malpractice claims have been filed against surgeons who have performed robotically-assisted surgery without sufficient training, leading to unnecessary injury to the patient.
Additionally, the use of robots during surgery carries other risks to a patient’s health besides the possibility of operator error. Poorly-designed equipment, inadequate insulation of electrical components and the possibility of malfunction are just some of the issues that have resulted in malpractice cases being filed by patients who have suffered burns, bleeding and organ damage.
Technological advances have enabled surgical intervention to succeed in circumstances that would have been unthinkable just decades ago. For those injured by the negligent misuse of this technology, however, the right to claim compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit continues to exist.