There are More Out There: Da Vinci Robot Surgical Injuries

Despite the numerous complaints already being filed against California-based Intuitive Surgical, Inc., maker of the Da Vinci Surgical System, it turns out that surgical injuries are actually being underreported. This was concluded by Johns Hopkins researchers who put together court records and news articles to come up with the true picture of the situation with da Vinci robot lawsuits in particular and the reporting mandate in general.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) routinely requires medical device manufacturers and drug companies to report all adverse occurrences relating to their product in order to ensure public health and safety. However, the study shows that because there are no real repercussions from the FDA when companies fail to faithfully report these adverse events, there is no motivation to do so. This means that in general when a product or device is shown to have serious side effects or defects the FDA only gets to hear about it from the victims themselves when extensive damage has already been done.

Because there are no warnings issued to the public, most people are unaware of the risk they are taking in patronizing these products or devices, which are in large part inadequately tested. Coupled with marketing strategies which entice consumers already primed to favor the newest technology, manufacturers are set up to make huge profits which would be compromised if adequate testing is carried out. This applies to consumer products as well, but medical devices and products have the potential for serious if not fatal harm.

Until the FDA’s reporting mandate acquires a more punitive personality, the only recourse for those who suffer injury or harm from the use of these devices or products is in civil court. And because the da Vinci surgical system is a wholly new category of medical device, litigation is likely to be highly complex. It would be necessary for those suffering from surgical injuries to engage a product liability lawyer well-versed in the arena of robot-assisted surgical devices such as the da Vinci system.