With the recent advances in medical technology, more people are going under the ‘robotic knife.’ Robotic surgeries are becoming a popular alternative to traditional surgeries, but they’re not without risks. Any time new technology is introduced into the medical field, there can be serious glitches involved. The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about the dangers and risks involved with robotic surgeries.
The Increase in Robotic Surgeries
• In 2000, only 1,000 robotic surgeries were performed, worldwide.
• In 2011, 360,000 robotic surgeries were performed.
• In 2012, 450,000 were performed.
Poor Standardization and Evaluation May Lead to User Error
Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much in the way of rigorous standardization or evaluation of doctors who are currently utilizing robotic technology for surgeries. This means that user errors are likely to occur with inexperienced doctors. It’s absolutely critical that a surgeon be well trained in the use of robotic surgical tools prior to working on patients. It’s always a good idea to ask one’s doctor about experience in a particular technique prior to undergoing a surgical procedure.
Benefits of Robotic Surgeries
Successful robotic surgeries do offer patients some benefits. First of all, for many surgeries that involve laparoscopic instruments, there are often smaller scars and less time spent in recovery than after traditional surgeries. Additionally, there may be a reduced need for pain medication in patients who have successful robotic surgeries. Finally, there is typically less blood loss and shorter stays in the hospital. These are only beneficial advantages for patients who have successful robotic surgeries. Botched robotic procedures can leave victims seriously injured or worse, dead.
Risks and Dangers Involved with Going Under the Robotic Knife
According to the Food and Drug Administration, reports of adverse events with robotic surgeries are on the rise. The injury and death rate for robotic surgeries has increased to roughly 50 reports per 100,000 robotic procedures in 2011 from only about 13.3 reports in 2004.
Is Robotic the Way to Go?
Hospitals are constantly competing for the latest and greatest technology. Unfortunately, technology in the wrong hands can do more harm than good. Last March, Massachusetts health officials sent a note of advisory to hospitals around the state. They remarked on the potential risks that can accompany new technological surgical advances. They also advised hospitals to inform all patients of their various surgical options and the potential risks and benefits involved for each.
Intuitive Surgical Inc., a main manufacturer of robotic-surgical-tools, is currently the defendant in about 50 lawsuits which allege product liability. The Wall Street Journal didn’t remark on the current status of those filings, or the implications of these lawsuits.
What to Do After a Robotic Surgery Goes Wrong
If you’ve been injured in a surgical procedure using robotic technology, contact the experienced Massachusetts drug injury lawyers at Altman & Altman, LLP for a free case consultation today. We can obtain the necessary documents and information to get the ball rolling on your case. If you’ve lost a loved one, we can file a wrongful death lawsuit to help you recover compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income and damages associated with the loss of love and companionship of a family member. Contacting an experienced Boston drug injury lawyer is a top priority following any drug injury or surgical procedure gone awry.