While the Da Vinci Surgical System, a remote-controlled robot used to provide surgeons with a wider range of movement when performing minimally invasive procedures, would appear to be the way of the future, it packs a series of life-threatening complications that are likely to spawn Da Vinci Surgery Robot lawsuits.

According to a recent investigation led by the Seattle Times, the medical device has been suggested to cause patients surgical burns and tears to blood vessels and arteries, bowel injuries, cut ureters, excessive bleeding, tears to vital organs and even death.

Despite these risks, the Seattle Times found that in its home state of Washington alone, local hospitals have at least 37 surgical robots, despite its hefty price tag of $2.6 million. Swedish Medical Center has seven, Sacred Heart in the city of Spokane has three, and Pullman Regional Hospital, which only has 25 beds, has one. The investigation revealed that the device cost twice as much as Pullman earned in 2010.

The Da Vinci Surgical System also bumps up the price of surgery for patients—weighing in at $4,800 for prostate surgery, for one—who may be already struggling with the rising costs of health care. Patients who have already started filing Da Vinci Surgical Robot lawsuits claim the device has design flaws, which include un-insulated arms and electrical current that can burn healthy tissue and organs. Plaintiffs also allege that the Da Vinci Surgical System is often operated by surgeons who do not have sufficient experience using the robot, which has resulted in injuries.

In light of these revelations, the question is: has there been any safety testing done on the Da Vinci Surgical System?

Dr. John Luber, a Tacoma heart surgeon, questions not only the safety, but also effectiveness of these surgical robots. “What disturbs me is that we haven’t done the thing we always say we should do — which is look at a detailed, randomized trial across institutions to assess whether what we’re offering patients is better,” he said.

Published November 26, 2012 by