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Can technology prevent surgical errors?

Da Vinci surgery is becoming increasingly common in Kentucky and throughout the developed world. This type of surgery is technology based. The surgeon controls a high-tech robot through a computer-based interface.

Is da Vinci Surgery More Dangerous Than We've Been Led to Believe?

Although this type of surgery is lauded for its decrease in patient discomfort, patient recovery time and surgical error, the reality might be far different. According to an article in medscape.com, a significant number of complications stemming from da Vinci surgery have gone unreported. This underreporting not only gives a false sense of security, it also hinders the surgical community's ability to learn from their mistakes.

What Happens When Something Goes Wrong?

Of course, we all know that technology cannot guarantee safety in any situation, but there are interesting questions when it comes to technology-based surgery.

The most important question is: Who is liable when surgical errors arise? Traditionally, surgical tools were simple enough to assume they would function properly. Thus, when a surgical error occurred, it was most likely the surgeon's fault.

With the increased complications involved with robotic surgical technology, there is an increased likelihood of error.

When the surgeon is clearly at fault, a legal claim proceeds as a medical malpractice or negligence claim. However, if the robot or computer malfunctions during the surgery, it raises the possibility of a product liability claim. Similar to injuries caused by faulty brakes on an automobile or a malfunctioning power tool, this type of claim would be against the designers or manufacturers of the technology.

After suffering complications in a da Vinci surgery, victims should seek the counsel of an experienced attorney immediately. It is critical to determine whether the surgeon or the technology was at fault, and bring a claim accordingly.

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