Using robotic arms, doctors can manipulate the smallest of tools and perform surgery with precision in miniscule detail and with minimal invasiveness to the patient. The use of robotic equipment in the operating room has taken a page out of science fiction and revolutionized modern medicine’s idea of what surgery looks like, both in Georgia and throughout the country as numerous hospitals now utilize the devices.
According to a study, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates and approves medical devices, heard over 8,000 reports of malfunctions in robot-assisted surgery between 2000 and 2013. During this same 14-year period, a total of more than 1.75 million robotic procedures were done in the United States. So, it’s true that malfunctions are the exception rather than the rule; however, if the operation does go awry, obviously there can be some serious consequences for a patient.
Malfunctions during this period contributed to 144 patient deaths and 1,391 injuries. The types of malfunctions that can occur with these devices during surgery can include broken pieces of medical instruments falling into the patient, electrical arcs, unintentional movements and more. The doctors may also have trouble seeing the surgery if there’s glitches in the video system, which can interrupt the operation altogether. Sometimes, the doctors need to restart the robot, stop using the robot and continue the surgery the old-fashioned way or even reschedule the operation.
As anybody can see, these mechanical marvels represent an important advance in medicine; however, in these still early days of their development, there are plenty of technical difficulties that can potentially cause havoc in the operating room and possibly incur harm to the patient.
Getting legal help
If you or a loved one have been harmed in any way by a malfunction in robot-assisted surgery, it’s vital you speak with a knowledgeable Georgia attorney who can help find out if you’re eligible for compensation and fight on your behalf to see you get the fairest treatment possible under state and federal law.