Already facing more than two dozen da Vinci robot lawsuits, Intuitive Surgical, the manufacturer of the da Vinci Surgical System, has warned of a potential problem with one of the instruments used with the device that could cause patients to suffer surgical burns. According to an  Urgent Medical Device Notification issued by the company last Friday, micro-cracks  in the EndoWrist monopolar curved scissors that may not be visible to the user can cause electrical leaks that could “create a pathway for electrosurgical energy to leak to tissue during use and potentially cause thermal injury.”

The  May 8th Notification also informed  customers of precautions to take before using the scissors to ensure patient safety, according to a Wall Street Journal report. While Da Vinci robot customers will also be notified when replacements for the scissors are available, Intuitive Surgical did not go so far as to issue a recall for the instruments. The company stated that  it has received one complaint of injury, but  that a subsequent analysis didn’t indicate energy leakage.  It has also notified the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) of the issue with the scissors.

Da Vinci Robot Lawsuits Continue to Pile Up

Intuitive Surgical is facing a growing number of da Vinci surgical robot lawsuits that allege patients undergoing robotic surgery suffered serious injuries, including surgical burns, due to defects in the machine and/or inadequate surgeon training on the device.  In an April 30th filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Intuitive disclosed it had so far been named in 26 such lawsuits.

Currently, the nation’s first trial of a da Vinci robot lawsuit is underway in Washington State Superior Court. According to the Seattle Times, the case was originally filed in 2009 by the wife of a man who died of heart failure years after a botched da Vinci prostatectomy.  The lawsuit alleges that da Vinci complications he sustained in that procedure hastened his death. The doctor who performed the operation had never used the da Vinci unassisted before, and stated in court documents that had he known the truth about the steep learning curve and time needed to master the robot, he would never have used the device. The doctor further  asserts that Intuitive Surgical led him to believe that he would become proficient with only a company training course and  two supervised surgeries.

For its part, Intuitive Surgical challenges any suggestion that in an attempt to increase the use  of the da Vinci robot,  it engaged in inadequate surgeon training or improper certification resulting in harm to patients.

Suffered Da Vinci Complications?  Get a Free Legal Consultation Today.

If you suffered surgical burns or other da Vinci complications in a robotic surgery procedure, filing a da Vinci robot lawsuit might enable you to obtain compensation for your injuries. The attorneys of Bernstein Liebhard LLP can evaluate your potential lawsuit for free.  To learn more, please contact on of our attorneys by calling 1-877-779-1414 today.

Published May 13, 2013 by