Cancer Patient In US Died After Surgical Robot Burns Holes In Organs–Claims Lawsuit.

Many arms, one robot: the business end of the da Vinci system is seen in this media handout image from the manufacturer. Mark Clifford/Courtesy of Intuitive Surgical, Inc.
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A man in the United States is suing medical manufacturer Intuitive Surgical after claiming that its surgery robot burned a hole in his wife’s organs while conducting a procedure to treat her colon cancer, leading to her death, according to a report in the New York Post.

The lawsuit states that the robot burned a hole in her small intestine, which then required additional medical interventions.

Sandra Sultzer’s husband, Harvey Sultzer, filed a complaint against Intuitive Surgical on February 6, 2024, stating that his wife experienced health issues as a result of a surgery that was performed by their surgical robot.

According to the lawsuit, the woman had surgery at Baptist Health Boca Raton Regional Hospital in September 2021 to treat her colon cancer with the multi-armed, remote-controlled da Vinci robot.

As per the company, the device is advertised “to enable precision beyond the limits of the human hand,” being “designed to provide surgeons with natural dexterity while operating through small incisions,” allowing for minimally invasive procedures.

According to the lawsuit, Ms Sultzer died in February 2022 as “a direct and proximate result of the injuries she suffered” after undergoing the surgeries.

The lawsuit stated that the company knew the robot had insulation issues which could cause harm to the internal organs, however,  the family was not informed.

It added that the company has received thousands of reports about injuries and defects linked to the robot. However, they have “underreported” these to the Food and Drug Administration.

The lawsuit also claims that the firm fails to adequately train doctors on the use of the da Vinci system and sells its robots to hospitals that are inexperienced in robotic surgery.

Mr Sultzer is suing IS for over “$75,000 for negligence, product liability, including design defect and failure to warn, loss of consortium and punitive damages”.

One of the earliest surgical robots, the da Vinci system was introduced by IS in 1999. After receiving FDA approval a year later, the device has been accused of numerous flaws.

Source: NDTV, New York Post.


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