The number of surgeons using robots to assist in surgery is increasing, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Those devices are now drawing more review by the FDA. Their use has also been linked to a number of reported problems nationwide including possible cases in New Jersey. Some situations have eventually been filed in court as medical malpractice.
The FDA is currently investigating five deaths reported during a period that included 2012 and early 2013. During 2012 there were approximately 350,000 soft tissue surgeries performed with the assistance of robots. This is roughly three times the number of cases utilizing robots in 2008.
During a robotic surgery, the surgeon is seated at a computer screen and is not required to stand above the operating table. This reduces fatigue, which may improve the surgeon's skills. The robotic tools are also often more precise and do not shake as a human hand might. This can lead to less bleeding from incisions and can improve outcomes.
However, there are reports of the robotic surgical assistant malfunctioning during surgery. Some cases have resulted in the surgeon shutting down the machine and performing a manual surgery while others have resulted in the death of the patient.
Patients undergoing surgery have the right to expect the procedure will be performed with the best tools and knowledge available.
Patients who feel that they were not treated with the best equipment available may want to contact an attorney experienced in medical malpractice cases. This attorney may be able to help them recover for any additional medical expenses, lost wages or general pain and suffering.