Speaking indirectly to the mounting litigation of lawsuits alleging da Vinci robotic surgery complications, a urologist in New Jersey went on record this week saying the da Vinci Surgical System can be dangerous in the hands of an incompetent surgeon, according to NJ.com.

“The quality of surgery is not only dictated by the approach that is used but also by the surgeon and their surgical experience,” the doctor said in a report published May 29.

According to the article, use of the da Vinci robot in hospitals has increased more than 80 percent nationwide over the past four years, and the number of procedures aided by the remote-controlled surgical aid has risen by 300 percent each year.

NJ.com reports that Somerset Medical Center, where this urologist practices, has performed more than 400 robotic surgeries over three years. The surgeon quoted in the article has performed 200 of those procedures.

“We’re able to manipulate the camera to exactly where we want it,” he said, “and I am able to control all three surgical instruments.”

Manufactured by Intuitive Surgical, the da Vinci Surgical System was originally designed to aid surgeons in performing minimally-invasive urologic, gynecologic and laparoscopic procedures. After being approved for use in those surgeries by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000, hospitals also now use it for thyroid cancer, gastric bypass, gall bladder and prostate surgeries.

Robotic surgery complication lawsuits allege Intuitive inadequately trained surgeons in how to operate the device and were overly aggressive in their marketing to hospitals. As a result, claims say patients had the potential to suffer surgical burns and tears to arteries and blood vessels, cut ureters, bowel injuries, excessive bleeding and other painful side effects.

Intuitive Surgical disputes allegations that it engaged in insufficient surgeon training or improper certification that resulted in injury to patients in an attempt to increase the use of its product.

26+ Da Vinci Robot Lawsuits Filed in U.S. as of May 2013

According to court records, 26 da Vinci Robot lawsuits had been filed over the device as of May 2013.

Prompted by the growing number of lawsuits and complaints filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency launched a survey in February 2013 asking doctors to rate its safety and performance.

As part of the survey, surgeons were asked about patient injuries possibly caused by the da Vinci robot, their opinions on which surgeries the device is best suited for as well as specifics about their training.

The nation’s first trial for a da Vinci Robot lawsuit concluded in Washington State Court in May after a jury rejected plaintiff claims that Intuitive provided insufficient training to surgeons in how to operate the robot.

File a Lawsuit Alleging Robotic Surgery Complications

If you underwent a minimally-invasive procedure aided by the da Vinci robot and experienced surgical burns and tears, bleeding and other injuries, contact Bernstein Liebhard LLP to find out how to seek the justice you deserve. Call the Firm at (877) 779-1414.

Published May 30, 2013 by