According to a recent study, the use of surgical robots has been linked to 144 patient deaths and 1,000 injuries. Many of these injuries and deaths have already spawned a series of robot surgery lawsuits.
So how do these lawsuits work, where are they now, and where might they be headed?
What Are Surgical Systems?
Many robotic surgical systems use mechanical arms to reduce the risk shaky human hands missing their mark. Many systems provide a clear line of sight to the operating area that allows surgeons to operate from a seated position, lessening fatigue due to lengthy surgeries.
How Are People Injured?
According to a paper on robotic surgery, the most common accidents are:
- Broken or burned robotic parts falling into patients’ bodies
- Uncontrolled movements and spontaneous powering on/off of the machines
- Electrical sparks, unintended charring, and damaged accessory covers
- Loss of quality video feeds and/or reports of system error codes
How Can Injured People Sue?
The majority of surgical robot lawsuits are product liability claims, alleging the medical device is defective in its design or manufacturing process. If the surgeon misused the surgical system, an injured patient could have a medical malpractice claim. If enough people are injured by the same robotic system or defect, they could file a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer or seller.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Injured by a Surgical Robot?
All injury claims have time limits on when an injured party can sue for damages, known as the statute of limitations. These time limits can be different in cases of wrongful death. So it’s important for patients who’ve been injured during robotic surgery to get as much information as soon as possible. Your first steps after an injury may be your most important.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a robotic surgical system, you should talk to an experienced injury attorney about your case.
- Hurt by a product or accident? Get your claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury)
- Robotic Surgery Involved in 144 Deaths in 14 Years (NBC News)
- Defective Medical Devices (FindLaw)
- 3 Medical Device Lawsuits to Understand (FindLaw’s Injured)