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Da Vinci Surgical Robot Lawsuit Filed After Woman Suffers Vaginal Cuff Abscess

May 14, 2012 | Parker Waichman LLP

Another victim of a botched surgery has filed a lawsuit against the maker of the da Vinci Surgical Robot.  The lawsuit, filed on behalf of a 43-year-old Alabama woman, claims the plaintiff suffered a vaginal cuff abscess allegedly due to the da Vinci Robot, and years later still suffers from pain and discomfort.  The lawsuit seeks $297 million in damages.

The complaint alleges that Intuitive Surgical, the maker of the da Vinci Robot, aggressively marketed the device "through a calculated program of intimidation and market management."  According to the lawsuit, Intuitive's heavy-handed marketing forced  hospitals and physicians to purchase the robot by leading them to fear  that if they did not, they would lose business to competitors.

Intuitive Surgical received U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to sell the da Vinci Surgical Robot in 2000. According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, use of the da Vinci Robot quadrupled in the last four years, and it is now used in at least 2,000 hospitals around the world.  Some critics charge that the high cost of the device - $2 million for the robot, not counting maintenance costs - has caused hospitals to pressure their doctors to use it in surgeries for which there is no proven benefit.  Da Vinci Surgical Robot lawsuits have also alleged that design flaws, coupled with a lack of adequate training on the part of surgeons who use the device, have caused serious injuries to patients, including torn and burned blood vessels and organs.

Use of the robot is supposed to allow for a less invasive surgery, smaller incisions, and quicker recovery.  The robot is used in heart bypass and valve repair operations, hysterectomies, prostate removal surgeries, weight loss surgery, surgical treatment of ladder, kidney, colorectal, gynecological, prostate and throat cancers, and other procedures.


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