Nobody likes to think that health professionals may make a medical mistake now and then, but the reality is they do, and more often and in more ways than most people think. It is a daunting thought, and should be kept in mind every time one is tempted to trust blindly in doctors and other health professionals.

However, not all potential medical dangers can be laid at the doors of those who actually administer health care, such as physicians, nurses, orderlies, emergency medical technicians, hospital administrators, and so on. Sometimes, medical negligence can be attributed to those who do not deal directly with patients.

One example is the da Vinci Surgical Robot system designed, developed, and manufactured by Intuitive Surgical, Inc. Many hospitals have invested millions to have the privilege of adding this high-tech service to its menu of offerings to patients. While it is mostly used for gynecological and urological procedures, having the space age technology available increases the prestige of the institutions that have them. However, because it is a departure from the traditional surgical techniques, the technology requires that the human operators (surgeons) are trained and have acquired a familiarity with its use.

Unfortunately, the manufacturer has neglected to provide with enough training and clinical experience to the surgeons it certifies. Ideally, a trained surgeon should be supervised when performing robotic surgery for at least 15 cases to achieve clinical proficiency. Many surgeons are trained for two days and then forced to operate unsupervised after only two supervised cases.

As a result, there have been many complaints alleging medical negligence against Intuitive for failing to provide adequate training, resulting in serious injury to patients. Some also allege that the design of the da Vinci’s surgical arms is defective causing tissue burns, while still others accuse Intuitive of making false marketing claims regarding the efficacy of the system over other methods.

Whatever the form of the medical error, health professionals, medical device manufacturers, and drug companies have a duty of care towards their patients. Failure to uphold this duty is actionable under tort law. If you or a close family member has suffered injury from medical negligence, consult with a personal injury lawyer specializing in these types of cases to find out your legal options.


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