Robotic Surgery: Who To Blame When Things Go Wrong

Robotic Surgery: Who To Blame When Things Go Wrong

Robotic surgeries are becoming more common, and it is important to seek legal counsel if a surgery results in an injury. Technology continues to improve the field of robot-assisted surgery. Patients may suffer an injury as a result of the robotic system, raising questions about who or what is to blame. Is the doctor or the robot at fault? An experienced personal injury attorney Reno NV can help navigate this situation.

Technology Fueling the Drive for Robotic Surgeries

Technology continues to increase at a rapid pace, greatly benefiting modern medicine. Problems can be treated sooner, which can increase the likelihood of a patient recovering.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) is now partnering with the National Robotics Initiative to develop robots to improve the lives of humans. $2.2 million has been set aside to fund this project over the next five years.

Robots can be useful tools during intricate surgeries. Laparoscopic techniques are minimally invasive, but they can be technically very challenging for surgeons. Robots can assist with these procedures, shortening the healing time and potentially providing a better outcome.

Using robots to assist with surgery does come with certain risks. Risks include nerve damage, damage to internal organs, and electrocution. A personal injury attorney Reno NV can answer questions after an injury occurs when robotic equipment is used.

Robotic Surgeries Responsible For Injuries and Death

Researchers examined over 10,000 incidents reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and found that robots were involved in over a thousand cases that resulted in injury or death. 1,391 injuries were reported over the last fourteen years, along with 144 deaths. 8,061 device malfunctions were also reported.

Researchers found that very little information was given regarding why the patients died. This makes it difficult to place the blame on either the doctor or the robot used in the surgery. An attorney experienced with health care litigation can be key when a patient is injured by an error.

Some of the errors and the frequency with which they occurred included:

  • Broken pieces of tools falling into patients (14.7%)
  • Electrical sparking (10.5%)
  • Unintended movements by the robot (8.6%)

Robotic systems tended to perform well during urology and gynecology procedures. The robots did not perform as well for procedures involving the head, neck, and cardiothoracic region. Overall, there were 550 errors per 100,000 robotic procedures.