Lawsuits Are Filed over da Vinci Robots as They Become More Popular in Hospitals
Intuitive Surgical isn’t letting alarming headlines about its robots prevent it from winning big contracts in hospitals. Recently, Forbes reported the company has won a five-year contract to supply its da Vinci surgical robots to the Defense Logistics Agency.
The Defense Logistics Agency, an agency within the U.S. Department of Defense, chose Intuitive over 34 other bidders for the contract which is worth $430 million contract. The surgical robots will be used in government hospitals by the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, meaning locations such as Portsmouth Naval Hospital may soon have the technology.
The contract was not a one-off. The da Vinci robot is being used in more and more hospitals, notwithstanding a class action lawsuit that was filed last year by patients who claimed they were damaged by the robot.
A class action lawsuit was filed on October 3, 2014 related to injuries that plaintiffs say they suffered while undergoing surgery in which the robotic device was used. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Tallahassee Division. It stated that although the da Vinci robot system has been marketed as safe, it has resulted in many complications due to malfunctioning equipment and inadequate training for surgeons in the use of the technology.
Cases against Intuitive have already resulted in a $7.5 million jury verdict and two settlements of an undisclosed sum. The manufacturers of the system claim it results in a shorter hospital stay than more traditional forms of surgery, fewer complications, minimal scarring and less blood loss.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Intuitive challenge these claims. A report by Citron Research identified 4,600 complaints involving the da Vinci Surgical System which were filed with the FDA. 3,900 of these complaints were filed between 2007 and 2012, according to the FDA, and 70 deaths had been linked to the device since 2009, Bloomberg reported.
Bloomberg.com reported in March 2013 that da Vinci Robot lawsuit claims alleged a number of complications including surgical burns, cut ureters, bowel injuries, excessive bleeding and even death.
Lexis reported last year that Intuitive Surgical Inc. announced that it took out a $67 million charge against 2014 earnings to settle an unspecified number of product liability claims the da Vinci surgical robot. In a press release, the company said the $67 million is the estimated cost of settling claims alleging complications from surgeries performed with specific versions of the Monopolar Curved Scissors (MCS) instruments that were recalled in 2013 and with a first-generation MCS tip cover that was withdrawn in 2012.
The DaVinci surgical robot is becoming increasingly popular in hospitals. However, the class action lawsuits against this device suggests the technology is far from perfected and patients are paying the price – on occasions with their lives. If you have been injured or lost a loved one due to this surgery in Virginia or North Carolina, call our personal injury lawyers at 757.455.0077 for a free consultation.