Lawsuit Filed Over Thermal Burns, Bowel Perforation During da Vinci Robotic Surgery

Da Vinci Surgery Lawsuit

Written by Faith Anderson on April 2, 2014
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Lawsuit Filed Over Thermal Burns, Bowel Perforation During da Vinci Robotic Surgery

Intuitive Surgical faces another lawsuit over severe internal injuries associated with its controversial da Vinci surgical robot. Contact a product liability lawyer today if you have suffered injuries during robotic surgery.

A new product liability lawsuit has been filed against Intuitive Surgical by an Ohio woman who alleges that she suffered thermal burns, bowel perforation and other internal injuries during da Vinci robotic surgery. The complaint was filed by Erika Starr and her husband Nick Griffith in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on March 12, and claims that the Monopolar Curved Scissors and other components of the da Vinci surgical robot are defective and caused her injuries by allowing electricity to arc outside of the surgical field. If you believe you have been adversely affected by side effects of da Vinci robotic surgery, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help put you in touch with an experienced product liability lawyer today.

Possible Side Effects of da Vinci Robotic Surgery

According to the complaint, Starr underwent da Vinci robotic surgery on March 13, 2013, and suffered serious internal injuries during the procedure, including bowel perforation and thermal burns. She claims that her injuries are severe and permanent, and have cost her significant physical and mental pain and suffering, exorbitant medical bills and lost wages, and impaired future earning ability. Starr claims that Intuitive Surgical knew as early as October 2011 that something was wrong with the da Vinci surgical robot, when the company responded to reports of electricity arcing through damaged monopolar scissors tip covers that caused injuries to patients, and failed to warn consumers and the medical community.

Da Vinci Warning Issued Over Problems with Hot Shears

Roughly two months after Starr’s surgery, da Vinci maker Intuitive Surgical finally issued a warning to medical professionals regarding problems with the da Vinci robot’s monopolar scissors, also known as “hot shears.” In the warning, the medical device maker indicated that the hot shears may develop micro-cracks that allow electrosurgical energy to come into contact with nearby tissue, potentially causing thermal burns and other serious internal injuries. Despite these major side effect risks, the da Vinci surgical robot has been purchased by thousands of hospitals throughout the country in recent years, and has been used for a number of gynecologic, urologic, laparoscopic procedures and various other surgeries.

Intuitive Accused of Using “Intimidation” to Sell Device

In her lawsuit, Starr accuses Intuitive Surgical of designing and manufacturing a defective medical device and then forcing hospitals to use the devices or risk losing business. “Defendant Intuitive sold its device through a calculated program of intimidation and market management, forcing hospitals and physicians to purchase it in order to appear to be competitive, and creating a fear in their minds that if they did not have this technology they would lose business to competitors,” the complaint notes. These allegations are similar to those raised in other da Vinci surgery lawsuits filed against Intuitive Surgical in recent years, on behalf of individuals who have suffered tears, burns and other internal injuries during da Vinci robotic surgery.

Posted Under: Da Vinci Surgery, Legal, News
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