Da Vinci Robot: Riskier than We Thought
December 19, 2014
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Every day, we are reminded that ours is the age of technology. It has infiltrated almost every aspect of our lives from our smart phones and TVs to our electric cars. The healthcare system is not immune to the rapid growth of technology. The latest in the medical device industry is a robot that assists surgeries called the da Vinci Robot.

The da Vinci Robot is a device with four arms, each with a wrist-like joint. Your surgeon controls the arms using a console that uses very sophisticated computer software which allows the surgeon to see the area in high definition and 3D. The company that sells the multi-million dollar machine claims that the surgeon can perform a minimally invasive procedure without ever touching you with his or her own hands. Sounds cool, right? In theory, the device should eliminate errors from “unsteady hands” and permit surgeons to work in more confined spaces than human hands permit. However, there are serious risks which the da Vinci Robot’s manufacturer, Intuitive Surgical, neglected to mention when they began aggressively marketing the robot. There are also problems with the device that they failed to warn about once they discovered them. According to a New York Times article, 174 injuries and 71 deaths have been linked to the da Vinci robot. The same article states that after extensive review, researchers at Johns Hopkins found that adverse events (injuries and deaths) have been “vastly underreported.”

These da Vinci Robot dangers cover three basic areas:  procedural, design, and general medical device liability.

  • Procedural issues: Inadequate training of medical personnel; extended time under anesthesia; and dangerous emergency conversions from non-invasive to open surgery
  • Design Issues:  Because the surgeons can’t feel with their own hands, the lack of feel can lead to tissue damage;  unreliable robotic parts; defects in the monopolar scissors leading to horrific burn injuries
  • Medical Device Liability: Intuitive Surgical knew about dangerous risks associated with the da Vinci robot and failed to warn hospitals and surgeons of them leading to horrendous injuries to patients. Some of the most common injuries that have occurred as a result of the defects in the da Vinci robot include:
    • Bleeding
    • Burning of internal organs and/skin tissue
    • Blood vessel and uterine punctures
    • Bowel perforations
    • Death


We at Ashcraft & Gerel pride ourselves in taking an aggressive stand against companies whose negligence leads to completely preventable injuries. If you or a loved one have been injured by the da Vinci robot, please contact us online or call (866) 709-0505 today for a free and completely confidential consultation. Know your rights.