study makes alarming findings concerning robotic surgery

In last week’s posts discussing hernias and some of the potential dangers associated with laparoscopic surgery, one of the primary treatments for hernias, we briefly touched on the topic of robotic surgery. Specifically, we mentioned how use of this advanced equipment for the treatment of hernias was still relatively limited due to a variety of factors.

As it turns out, a group of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois and Rush University Medical Center recently published a rather fascinating study raising questions about the overall safety of robotic surgery given their discovery of a rather significant number of complications and technical difficulties.

What did the researchers do?

The researchers examined reports submitted to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience — or simply MAUDE — database from January 2000 through December 2013, a timeframe that saw close to 1.7 million robotic surgery procedures performed.

What were their general findings?

After narrowing their data pool down to nearly 10,624 MAUDE reports, the researchers discovered 8,061 of these reports involved device malfunctions and 1,535 of these reports involved adverse events for patients.

What were these adverse events for patients?

The researchers found that of the 1,535 reports involving adverse events for patients, 1,391 resulted in patient injuries and 144 resulted in patient deaths. This finding, in turn, lead the researchers to conclude they had found “a non-negligible number of technical difficulties and complications” during robotic surgery procedures.

We will continue examining this important study in our next post. In the meantime, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you have endured any undue pain and suffering owing to any sort of surgical error.

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