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Da Vinci Robot Hysterectomy Lawsuit

The da Vinci Robot, a device that was designed to make hysterectomy surgery less invasive, has been increasingly used in hospitals around the country since it was approved by the FDA in 2000. Critics and patients, however, say this device may not provide any benefit over traditional surgical techniques, and may instead put patients at risk of severe injuries and even death. Da Vinci robot lawsuits have been filed, alleging patients suffered severe, life-threatening injuries after undergoing routine hysterectomy surgeries.

What is the Da Vinci Surgical Robot?

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved the da Vinci Surgical System in July 2000, making it the first laparoscopic robotic system to be used in U.S. operating rooms. The robot allows the surgeon to get closer to the surgical site and work at a smaller scale than conventional techniques permit.

The system consists of a control console and 3 to 4 surgical arms. When it first hit the market, the robot was used almost exclusively for gynecological procedures, but has since been increasingly used in prostate/gallbladder removals, heart surgery, hysterectomies and prostatectomies.

Robotic Surgery Hysterectomy

According to Intuitive Surgical, women who undergo a laparoscopic hysterectomy with the da Vinci Robot will have shorter recovery times, less blood loss and less time in the hospital. However, a growing number of lawsuits allege that rather than benefiting from the device, women suffered severe health complications following a da Vinci surgery robot hysterectomy. According to the lawsuits, women often are forced to undergo emergency surgery to correct damage caused by the robot. In many cases, patients have found that their quality of life has been permanently diminished as a direct result of their complications.

Hysterectomy Recovery

After a robotic hysterectomy, the patient will be taken to an observation room while they recover from the anesthesia. Most patients stay in the hospital for a day or two following the operation. During the hospital stay:

  • Pain is normal. The patient may be administered pain medication intravenously.
  • The IV will be taken out once the patient is able to drink fluids. At this point the patient may also resume eating a normal diet.
  • The bladder catheter will be removed in 1 or 2 days.
  • Some women may experience bleeding from their vagina that requires the use of sanitary pads.
  • Patients will be encouraged to get up and walk as soon as they are able. This helps prevent blood clots from developing in their legs. Certain drugs may be prescribed to prevent blood clots.

Click Here to learn more about the robotic hysterectomy recovery process from Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Are Da Vinci Robot Lawsuits Being Filed?

Yes. In March 2012, a New York father filed a federal lawsuit alleging complications related to the use of the da Vinci Surgical Robot caused the death of his 24-year-old daughter. The woman underwent hysterectomy surgery in a Bronx hospital in August 2010, and the device burned her arteries and intestines, which led to her death 2 weeks later. According to the lawsuit, the woman’s injuries were the result of design flaws, including uninsulated surgical arms and electrical currents that can jump to internal organs and tissues. The complaint is believed to be the 1st to be filed alleging da Vinci Robot design defects.

In May 2010, 47-year-old Sherry Long filed a lawsuit against New Hampshire’s Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, alleging that both of her ureters were severed during a laparoscopic robotic hysterectomy that was performed in March 2009. According to allegations raised in the complaint, the injury resulted from the surgeons’ lack of training on the Da Vinci Robot.

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