Robotic Surgery Malpractice

Robotic surgery has become more commonplace in recent time as new technologies develop. However, the threat of malpractice as a result of a robotic surgery procedure is still evident.

What Is Robotic Surgery?

Robotic surgery is a process where a doctor will control a special surgical device or machine. This machine first creates a very small incision into the body. The incision is typically made around the area that is to be operated on. After this is made, the machine will enter into the opening and expand and function based on the doctor’s controls.

The surgeon will control the robot arms while a camera is used on the arms to create a three-dimensional review of the patient’s body, thus assisting the doctor in finding certain items. Tools may then be used to remove and collect items from the body or to move physically and shift different organs and tissues.

The surgeon typically uses this to perform such procedures as the removal of growths in the body, gastrectomy processes, and even hernia repairs. This reduces the patient’s recovery time, keeps the patient from losing more blood and even lessens the risk of an infection in the surgical site.

A Risky Endeavor

Although robotic surgery has its benefits, it can become a dangerous process if used in the wrong hands. The FDA found that from 2000 to 2013, nearly 1,400 people were injured during robotic surgical procedures. Also, more than 140 people died during their procedures.

What Problems Happen?

The problems that may develop during the robotic surgery process often entail the surgeon’s error. This often involves the surgeon not understanding the ins and outs of a surgical machine. In other cases, the surgeon may not know how to operate it properly. There are also times when the surgeon may not identify the proper procedures to use when taking care of the patient’s body.

Other problems that may develop during the surgical process include the doctor moving the robotic device into the wrong parts of the body. There are also cases where the doctor may misread what the camera sees and use a different process for treating the patient than what is required.

Mechanical Issues

There are also instances where the robotic device itself may cause issues. In some cases, the robot can make unintended movements within the body, thus puncturing and harming other healthy parts of the body.

Electrical sparking may also develop during the surgery. An extreme amount of heat or electricity may move through the body, thus causing shock.

Pieces of tools being used by the robot may also fall into the patient’s body and even be left inside after the procedure is finished. These include pieces that either burn-off or break and fall off the body cavity.

The wrong attachment or piece may also be used during a procedure. The doctor is required to take a look at what devices are being used in the procedure and then make decisions on which pieces are to be added into the patient’s body.

The maintenance of the robotic surgery device can also be a factor. The device must be kept sterilized to prevent infections. It must also be tested and calibrated regularly to keep it working properly. Any issues that may come about during tests must also be fixed immediately before any more people are to be operated on. A failure to take care of the surgical device can result in malpractice on the hospital’s end.

A patient must be fully aware of what may go on when a robotic surgery procedure occurs. This includes a full review of how well a doctor can handle the process.

Sources:

http://www.MayoClinic.org/tests-procedures/robotic-surgery/basics/definition/prc-20013988

http://www.NBCnews.com/tech/tech-news/robotic-surgery-linked-144-deaths-2000-n395811

 

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