Biomechanical Engineer Discusses Botched Robotic Hysterectomy


Robotic Surgery Expert WitnessThis case involves a patient who suffered severe burns during a robotically assisted hysterectomy. The patient was a middle-aged woman who was under the care of the Defendant for an ongoing gynecological issue, for which total hysterectomy was recommended. The Plaintiff consented to undergo the procedure with the Defendant, and the surgery was completed using the da Vinic robotic surgical system. Several days later, the patient developed severe abdominal pain, as well as a fever and a reduction in her bowel function. The patient then underwent an exploratory surgical procedure, during which a significant thermal injury to the patient’s rectum was discovered. Treatment involved the resection of a portion of the Plaintiff’s colon, and has impacted the Plaintiff’s quality of life severely.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you familiar with Monopolar energy used during surgeries?
  • 2. Please explain your experience with testing shears- specifically used during da Vinci surgery?
  • 3. What is your experience working on similar cases?

Expert Witness Response E-008358

Expert-ID: E-008358

I have a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, specifically on adding Image-guided surgical techniques to the daVinci robotic system. Additionally I’ve done 2 years postdoctoral studies on the daVinci robot, and continue to have involvement in research including surgical robotics. My background includes electrically focused biomedical engineering, kinesiology, device design, and software design. Additionally, I’ve worked with Intuitive Surgical in the past and understand many of the complexities of the daVinci system. During the past 12 years of working on the DaVinci Robotic System, I have observed hundreds of surgeries performed by this device. Throughout this process and use of the device myself, I have learned the benefits and drawbacks of this surgical tool. From the provided statements of this case, there definitely appears to have potential issues with the use and design of the device, or actions of the operator of the device. I would be happy to review this case.


Expert Bio

This highly qualified expert has both an MA and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Vanderbilt University. He completed 2 fellowships, and he is a member of numerous professional societies including the ‘American Biomedical Engineering Society’ and the ‘American Association for the Advancement of Science’. He is extensively published with numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, books, and monographs, and he has been a presenter and lecturer at multiple professional conferences. He currently serves as an Assistance Professor of Bioengineering at a major university.

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