The Washington state court trial for a lawsuit alleging da Vinci robotic surgery complications may have uncovered new information about the device this month from a University of California cardiologist and former company sales representative who both testified on the plaintiff’s behalf, Bloomberg.com reports.

According to an article published April 29th, the San Francisco doctor told a jury that the patient, who died of heart disease in 2012, may have lived another five years had it not been for the complications he allegedly experienced after undergoing  a prostate removal procedure four years earlier.

“A number of complications put stress on his heart and his body in general,” the doctor said in his testimony. “I think the prostatectomy and the aftermath of his prostatectomy accelerated his cardiovascular disease and hastened his death.”

Lawsuits Allege da Vinci Robotic Surgery Complications

The da Vinci Surgery Robot is a remote-controlled surgical device designed to aid surgeons in performing minimally-invasive procedures. Originally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000 for urologic, laparoscopic, and gynecologic operations, the product marketed by Intuitive Surgical Inc. is now also used in gastric bypass surgery, gall bladder removal, prostate removals and thyroid cancer surgeries. In 2012, the da Vinci Surgery Robot was used in 300,000 procedures.

Lawsuits filed over the device allege its use in surgery may cause patients to suffer surgical burns, cut ureters, excessive bleeding and other da Vinci robotic surgery complications.

The trial for this case, which was brought by the deceased patient’s widow, is currently underway in Port Orchard, Washington. Her da Vinci Robot lawsuit alleges Intuitive aggressively marketed the robot, and that her husband’s injuries were a result of the company’s simplified method for training surgeons.

According to claims, the patient’s autopsy indicated he suffered numerous heart attacks in the last years of his life, one of which may have been the day after his 2008 procedure. But because he was put on a ventilator afterward and was heavily sedated, the cardiologist says he may not have noticed any symptoms of a heart attack as it was happening.

A former sales representative for Intuitive Surgical Inc. may have later strengthened the arguments brought by the plaintiff when he testified that two-thirds of his salary was based on how many robots he sold in his geographic area, Bloomberg.com reported on April 29th. According to the testimony filed for this da Vinci Robot lawsuit, he also received bonuses for additional robots bought by hospitals.

The former Intuitive employee said he does not recall hearing about the patient’s post-surgical experience, and he did not discuss his obesity with the surgeon who performed the procedure. Attorneys for Intuitive in this da Vinci Robot lawsuit have said he should have never been a candidate for robotic surgery given his body size.

Considering a Da Vinci Robot Lawsuit? Contact Our Firm.

If you suffered surgical burns, cut ureters, bowel injuries or other da Vinci robotic surgery complications, contact an attorney at Bernstein Liebhard LLP to find out if you are eligible to file a claim against Intuitive. Call the Firm to learn more about da Vinci Robot lawsuits at 877) 779-1414.

Published May 8, 2013 by