Da Vinci Robot FAQs

Published on June 25, 2013 by Sandy Liebhard

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What problems have resulted in the filing of da Vinci robot lawsuits?

A growing number of da Vinci robot lawsuit plaintiffs claim to have suffered serious injuries, including punctured and torn organs, damaged blood vessels, and surgical burns, in procedures that utilize the da Vinci Surgical System. Some of these lawsuits allege the injuries were the result of defects in the robot itself, including issues with the electrical current the device uses to cut and cauterize tissue. Others claim that Intuitive Surgical Inc. has watered down training programs in order to convince more doctors to use the da Vinci, something Intuitive Surgical strongly denies.

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What types of procedures have allegedly resulted in da Vinci robot complications?

Plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits against Intuitive Surgical have allegedly suffered complications in a number of robot-assisted surgeries, including da Vinci robot hysterectomy and prostatectomy.

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What complications have plaintiffs in da Vinci lawsuits allegedly suffered?

According to court records, the injuries allegedly sustained by da Vinci lawsuit plaintiffs include:

  • Surgical burns
  • Torn and perforated blood vessels
  • Vaginal cuff dehiscence, a complication that may occur in a da vinci robot hysterectomy in which vaginal incision ruptures.
  • Internal hemorrhaging
  • Sepsis and other serious infections
  • Organ damage, including bowel and bladder injuries
  • Torn ureters
  • Damaged intestines

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A loved one died during a da Vinci procedure. Do I have any legal rights?

If you are the survivor of someone who died during a da Vinci procedure, you may be able to file a robotic surgery lawsuit on their behalf for their alleged wrongful death. A number of da Vinci robot lawsuits already pending in courts around the country include wrongful death claims.

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How common is da Vinci surgery?

In 2012 alone, the da Vinci robot was used in nearly 400,000 procedures, including prostatectomies, hysterectomies, heart surgeries, and even thyroid procedures. One study published in June 2013 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, for example, found that more men with low-risk prostate cancer were choosing to undergo advanced treatments, including da Vinci prostatectomy, even though these types of procedures may not offer them any added benefits.

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Does the da Vinci robot offer patients any benefits over traditional procedures?

Despite its popularity, no large-scale studies have shown that the da Vinci robot offers patients any benefits compared to traditional laparoscopy. In fact, two studies published in 2013 found that complications rates for women who underwent da Vinci robot hysterectomy were roughly the same as those who underwent a laparoscopic procedure. The first, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in February 2013, also found that robot-assisted hysterectomy was significantly more expensive. The second, published in Obstetrics & Gynecology in September 2013, found da Vinci hysterectomy patients might face a doubled risk of developing pneumonia.

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How many da Vinci surgery lawsuits have been filed so far?

In July 2013, Intuitive Surgical disclosed that it had been named in 33 surgical robot lawsuit claims involving the da Vinci, all of which were filed on behalf of patients who allegedly suffered serious, and in some cases fatal, injuries in da Vinci procedures. However, many legal experts expect more filings, considering the prevalence of the technology.

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How common are da Vinci robot complications?

According to a report that aired on NBC News in June 2013, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has received more than 200 reports of patients who suffered serious da Vinci complications since 2007. Eighty-nine of those reports involved deaths. However, a study published in September 2013 in the Journal of Healthcare Quality raised concerns that some da Vinci injuries might be underreported.

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What type of compensation could I obtain in a da Vinci lawsuit?

The total compensation you might qualify for will depend on the severity of your injuries. However, by filing a da Vinci lawsuit, you may be able to obtain funds to cover all of your injury related damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

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What will it cost to file a robotic surgery lawsuit against Intuitive Surgical?

At Bernstein Liebhard LLP, our attorneys are representing robotic surgery lawsuit clients on a contingency basis. This arrangement means that you will not owe any legal fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf. In that case, you attorney fees will be taken out of a portion of your recovery. The contingency arrangement will be fully detailed in the retainer agreement you sign with Bernstein Liebhard LLP should you choose our firm for your case.

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Have there been any settlements in da Vinci lawsuits?

Yes. Court documents issued in March 2013 in Louisiana federal court indicate that Intuitive settled a da Vinci robot lawsuit filed on behalf of a woman who was allegedly injured during a thyroid procedure.

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Will I have to sue my doctor if I want to file a da Vinci robot lawsuit?

No. The da Vinci robot lawsuits pending against Intuitive Surgical are product liability claims, and allege that injuries were the result of either defects in the device or poor doctor training by the company. Doctors are not being targeted, as these lawsuits are not alleging medical malpractice.

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I do not live in New York, where Bernstein Liebhard LLP is headquartered. Can I still retain your firm for my claim?

Yes. Bernstein Liebhard LLP is offering surgical robot lawsuit evaluations to people living in all 50 states. Our firm can handle your case no matter where you live.

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What type of information will I need to provide to my attorney if I decide to go forward with a da Vinci lawsuit?

If you decide to proceed with a da Vinci lawsuit, you’ll need to sign a release so that your attorney can access your medical records. It’s also a good idea to begin tracking the expenses related to any medical treatments you’ve undergone because of your injury, as well as your lost wages, so that your lawyer can determine an appropriate amount of compensation.

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I’ve decided to file a da Vinci surgery lawsuit. How do I get started?

If you’re ready to move forward, please contact Bernstein Liebhard LLP today for a free, no-obligation da Vinci surgery lawsuit evaluation. Our attorneys have helped hundreds of people obtain compensation for injuries caused by defective medical devices, and have recovered over $3 billion for our clients. To learn how they can help you, please give our office a call at 1-212-779-1414.

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