Robotic Surgery System Causes Substantial Injuries


da Vinci robotThis case takes place in North Carolina and involves a middle-aged female patient who underwent a complete hysterectomy using the da Vinci Surgical System surgical technology. During the procedure a cut was made in the patient’s intestines that went unnoticed. This caused a range of complications, and necessitated multiple corrective procedures,  causing the patient a great deal of pain and suffering as well as financial hardship.It is alleged that the operating surgeon was inexperienced in performing the procedure, and that the machine itself was defective.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you familiar with the design defects of the da Vinci Surgical System?
  • 2. Are you familiar with the training process for teaching surgeons how to use the device for hysterectomies?

Expert Witness Response E-008048

I been researching robotic surgery since 2000 and have collaborated with numerous surgeons who regularly use the da Vinci Surgical System. I am familiar with the platform, including its monopolar cautery instruments. My background in electromechanics should be helpful in determining how defects in these tools could lead to the issues described.

Expert Witness Response E-008401

I have done work on solving the specific issue this case is centered on, and I have knowledge of the intricacies of this type of procedure and the risks it entails. I am very familiar with the da Vinci Surgical System, its function, and the pros and cons of its use, including issues with the design. My Ph.D. included much work both directly with da Vinci surgeons and with Intuitive Surgical, giving clear perspective on the device and its use. I have familiarity of this specific procedure and the potential risks involved. I have personally observed 10 of these procedures using the daVinci. I worked at the Mayo Clinic looking at the risk of ureteral injury.

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