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.

Some Causes of Wrong Diagnoses: Which Hospitals are Really Safe?

Quality care, accurate diagnosis, timely and effective treatment and correct medication – these are the most important elements in any medical treatment; these are also factors every doctor or medical health provider owes every patient whom they accept to treat.

A website called HealthGrades posts patient-safety ratings of different hospitals in the US. In 2010, for instance, the top five hospitals in their list showed that, indeed, these hospitals did a much better job caring for patients. Why resort to this list? Because medical malpractice that leads to wrong diagnosis (which may mean missed, delayed or over diagnosis) is real and it claims as many as 40,000 to 80,000 lives in the US every year.

Another website, that of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, a law firm in Wisconsin, puts it more directly, saying: “Without an accurate diagnosis, you may receive treatments for a condition that does not exist or . . . not receive any treatment at all.” That site also says that wrong medication can cause the development of a health problem that can be more harmful than your initial state.

A study that was recently reported in the U.S. News and World Report says that one on the most common reasons for misdiagnosis is physician bias, which happens when doctors become fixated on just one patient issue or problem. This happens due to the very limited 15-minute office visit, during which doctors and patients interact. Oftentimes too, doctors apply the so-called, “18-second rule” to their patients, the tendency to interrupt patients as they describe symptoms to their ailment.

Though knowledge, familiarity with symptoms and diseases or technology may render him or her right at times, there will definitely be instances wherein he or she will make a wrong judgment for not all illnesses are easy to determine. Thus, doctors probably need to go back to the old-fashioned way of probing and history taking, but which is never easy due to the financial effect it will cause them.

Nevertheless, whatever the cause of medical malpractice is, it will remain to be considered as a personal injury – an injury resulting from someone else’s carelessness or negligence. A serious injustice to patients, this error, like any other personal injuries, gives patients the legal right to seek justice and receive compensation from the liable party.