Robotic Surgical Errors Likely Underreported

In modern medicine, many doctors are making use of robotic technology for surgery. Robotic surgery can mean shorter recovery time, lowered medical expenses, and even allow doctors to perform operations without being in the same room as the patient. However, as with any technology, it is not without possibility of error. Connecticut residents may have to face the consequences of surgical errors as a result of robotic surgery.

One out-of-state woman discovered that these types of surgeries are not always foolproof after having a hysterectomy through robotics. At the time, she was not made aware of the fact that the company who provided the robot was accused of several other instances of surgical error. She had to endure a corrective surgery and is now scheduled to have another. She is in danger of losing her job and is currently receiving long-term disability. The woman claims that she would not have proceeded with the initial robotic surgery if she’d known of the other cases that had gone wrong.

The problem stems from the fact that hospitals and doctors often do not report these surgical errors to the FDA, and they cannot be forced to do so. Proponents of the machines argue that an injury report tied to these surgeries does not always mean that the device failed — it can simply mean that a robot was used in a procedure where a healthcare expert made an error. Training is not standardized and can be very short. They also say that new techniques and technologies are developed far more quickly than reporting is able to keep up with. Those who side with patients say that the burden is unfairly placed on consumers to attempt to research potential complications that may not be reported on in the first place.

Robotic surgery is certainly an exciting advancement in the medical industry. Several Connecticut residents may have already had experiences with this surgical method. Hopefully those experiences have been positive, but the possibility of surgical errors still exist. If a patient has been harmed by one of these procedures, he or she may wish to file a medical malpractice claim. Any financial gain from a successfully litigated claim could be used to cover recovery costs, lost wages and any other expenses tied to the error.

Source: bangordailynews.com, Unreported robot surgery injuries open new questions for FDA, Robert Langreth, Dec. 31, 2013