A company marketing executive for Intuitive Surgical Inc. testified this week in the first of at least a dozen da Vinci Robot lawsuits to go to trial that surgeons with “basic or limited” skills in performing minimally invasive procedures were targeted by the manufacturer to operate the device, Bloomberg.com reported on April 19.

According to the article, the director of marketing for Intuitive told jurors in Port Orchard, Washington on April 18 that the purpose of targeting the demographic of doctors described in the “surgical target list” found in internal company documents was to sell the device to more hospitals. The list described a category of urologists using the da Vinci Surgical System as having “basic or limited laparoscopic skills who currently perform” traditional prostate removals, the witness said.

Further, when asked if “a doctor who mastered laparoscopic surgery would be less interested” in operating the da Vinci system, the company executive responded, ‘They might or might not, but yes, many times, yes, they might show less interest.”

Da Vinci Robot Lawsuit Heats Up in Washington State Court

Lawyers for the plaintiff in this da Vinci Robot lawsuit, which was filed by a woman whose husband allegedly suffered injuries after undergoing a prostate removal procedure aided by the da Vinci Surgical System, are arguing that errors made during his surgery may have been the result of inadequate surgeon training caused by aggressive marketing.

The case also alleges those bad robot surgery complications ultimately led to the patient’s death.

Intuitive Surgical challenges any suggestion that in an attempt to increase the use of its product it engaged in inadequate surgeon training or improper certification resulting in harm to patients.

The da Vinci Surgery Robot was used in over 300,000 procedures during 2012. Approved in 2000 to aid surgeons in performing urologic, laparoscopic, and gynecologic surgery, the device is also now used to perform gastric bypass surgery, gall bladder removal, prostate removals and thyroid cancer surgeries as well.

A few days before the company executive for Intuitive testified in Washington state court, a lawyer for the plaintiff said the surgeon training program designed by Intuitive was “watered down” to increase sales of the device in hospitals in the U.S.

The program was “watered down so much that nobody’s ever failed — ever,” Friedman said.

How to File a da Vinci Robot Lawsuit

If you experienced complications after undergoing a procedure aided by the da Vinci Surgical System, you may be eligible to file a claim against the manufacturer. Contact an attorney at Bernstein Liebhard LLP to learn more about da Vinci Robot lawsuits at (877) 779-1414.

Published April 22, 2013 by