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Adverse Effects: Is it The da Vinci Device or the Surgeon?

US Food and Drug Administration’s acceptance of the da Vinci surgical system for use in minimally invasive operations offered surgeons the ability to execute surgeries using accuracy with the highest precision and hospitals, a higher degree of quality to look after individuals. The da Vinci surgical system, a multi- robotic surgical device is so far the sole surgical system that has been qualified by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to carry soft-tissue surgical procedures out. The da Vinci surgical system manufacturing company, Intuitive Surgical Inc., is an American company located in Sunnyvale, Ca.

The device is most commonly found in processes like the removal of gallbladders, cancerous bladders and prostrates, shrinking of the stomach, heart valve repair, organ transplant, cystectomies, ureteral reimplantation and reconstruction of new bladders. A qualified or trained doctor who is positioned a couple of feet from the operating table operates the device. The da Vinci provides him/her with an enlarged image of the surgical site, while its other arms, that can handle 360 degrees movement and tipped with all the necessary (removable) devices, perform the surgery through their command (via the employment of a system).

Unlike in open (or invasive) surgery, where the surgeon makes incisions as long as four inches to enable them to reach into the patient’s body organs, the da Vinci device, in minimally invasive operations, requires only to make tiny holes, a few millimeters in length, which are big enough for the endoscope as well as the devices to go into. Their small dimensions account for less loss of blood, very little stitches, less discomfort, rapid individual recovery and reduced hospital bills due to shortened hospital stays, although there could be numerous incisions. More than all these, yet, what created many doctors to celebrate the da Vinci is its ability for precision and zero chance for illness (surgical site infection is the reason for many individual deaths, asserting more than the usual hundred of thousand lives annually in the US).

The ability of the da Vinci device has won the interest of numerous hospitals in Europe, the US, and Japan. As a result, in mid of 2013, Intuitive Surgical Inc. mentioned that it has currently sold at least 2,000 models to hospitals around the world and that the number of surgical procedures where the device has been used has has already reached more than half of a a million.

It seems, however, that with the rise in the quantity of successful operations there is also an increase in the number of injuries due to the use of the machine. Ahead of the onset of operation besides physical failure, there are also reported cases of rips, internal bleeding, burns, illness or sepsis and wrongful-death. Due to these injuries, several people have hired da Vinci surgical robot attorneys and filed suit against Instinctive. According to the website of the National Injury Law Center, some of the cases that were particular reported include:

  • Passing of an individual whose blood-vessel was accidentally cut by these devices during a hysterectomy in 2012
  • Someone who died following a spleen surgery in 2007
  • Perforation of a colon within a prostate surgery
  • Among the robot’s hands not allowing go of a tissue that is grasped throughout a colorectal surgery
  • One of the robot’s arms striking the face of the individual during a hysterectomy

Many surgeons claim that it might require more than several (some say more than 100) surgeries before one would eventually not be completely uncomfortable utilizing the da Vinci. Training is held for just two days and though assisted by yet another skilled surgeon during a real operation errors may still be bound to occur.

But such premise just contributes to the question: Is the explanation for adverse outcomes actually the device or the possible lack of expertise by the doctor? Inspections that will really determine the purpose behind the adverse effects are still being conducted; meanwhile, hospitals with the da Vinci continue to be flocked by patients who need to undergo surgery and desire to be operated on using the equipment.