For more information or confidential assistance
se habla español

Da Vinci Robot Lawsuit Filed in Kentucky District Court

doctor operating surgical mask

Today we can barely imagine an invasive surgery without the constant presence of electronic monitors and patient sensors – all designed to ensure the anesthetized patient remains safely under sedation during the procedure. While technological advancements in the medical field are undoubtedly a much-needed and welcome evolution in many contexts, the advent of the robotic approach to surgery has been met with some objection – particularly by patients having experienced unnecessary setbacks post-operatively.

In one recent lawsuit, a Kentucky plaintiff is alleging that his experience with the da Vinci robotic arm caused unspeakable damage to his digestive and rectal systems, requiring further follow-up surgeries and potentially lifelong complications.

Named after the renowned Italian inventor Leonardo da Vinci, and sold by Intuitive Surgical, Inc., the robotic arm promises to be the “next frontier in minimally invasive surgery.” However, for many opponents of this technology, it has promised to be a troubling glimpse into the future of laparoscopy, with the potential to cause more harm than good.

Details of da Vinci lawsuit against Intuitive Surgical

The da Vinci robot lawsuit against Intuitive Surgical was filed on March 16, 2015 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The plaintiff is a senior citizen having undergone a prostatectomy, which involves the removal of the prostate gland and surrounding tissue – usually to avoid the onset or spread of prostate cancer. According to allegations, the plaintiff was advised by his physician that the da Vinci robotic arm would be used to complete the procedure, and it would cause less pain and discomfort during recovery.

Allegedly, the use of the da Vinci robot for prostatectomy resulted in the perforation of the plaintiff’s rectum, resulting in the formation of fistulas, infection and blood clot. The plaintiff asserts that the rectal injury occurred as a direct result of the use of the robotic arm, and he is now required to wear an external pouch to collect waste directly from the intestine, known as an ileostomy.

Plaintiff asserts over-promotion of robotic arm

Following the plaintiff’s factual allegations, he then asserts that Intuitive Surgical has engaged in “overly aggressive” marketing tactics to entice hospitals and surgical centers to purchase not only the robotic arm system, but lucrative $100,000 per year, per machine maintenance contracts. Notwithstanding, the plaintiff claims that Intuitive knew well before his personal surgery that the robotic arm may cause problems with doctors’ preciseness  – and dangerous rectal injuries are not uncommon. In fact, the plaintiff alleges that da Vinci robotic surgery has caused “thermal injury burns to the rectum and bowels, post-surgical abscesses, tears, dehiscences, bleeding, hematomas, sepsis, fistulas, and other injuries” – even when used by a trained surgical physician.

The plaintiff is seeking compensatory damages for not only his medical expenses, but for his emotional turmoil and mental anguish caused by having to wear an ileostomy pouch. Plaintiff also seeks reimbursement for attorneys’ fees, punitive damages, and court costs.