Bronx Father Seeks Damages for da Vinci Robot Wrongful Death

Shay Morrigan | March 26th, 2013

Da Vinci Robot LawsuitGilmore McCalla, a father from the Bronx, filed a new da Vinci robot lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in April 2012. According to his complaint, his daughter, who underwent robotic surgery for hysterectomy, suffered injuries that led to her death two weeks later. He seeks damages against Intuitive Surgical, Inc., the maker of the robotic technology.

According to Bloomberg News, robot systems made by Intuitive are linked to at least 70 deaths. Indeed, a 2013 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that though a robot-assisted hysterectomy costs one-third more than other minimally invasive surgery, it has little added benefit.

McCalla claims that the da Vinci is defective, and that the manufacturer failed to provide adequate warnings about the health risks associated with da Vinci robotic surgery. He and his New York medical malpractice lawyers seek compensation for what he believes was a wrongful death case.

Davinci robot lawsuits link system with serious complications

The da Vinci surgical robot is a machine designed to make it easier for surgeons to perform a variety of operations. The Intuitive Surgical website describes it as “the most advanced technology available today,” and stated that it, “enables surgeons to perform delicate and complex operations through a few tiny incisions with increased vision, precision, dexterity, and control.”

The system consists of a console where the surgeon sits while operating, a cart where the patient lays during surgery, four interactive robotic arms, a high definition 3D vision system, and various instruments. Da Vinci robotic surgery is used to assist with:

  • Prostate removal
  • Gallbladder removal
  • Endometriosis procedures
  • Hysterectomies
  • Cardiac procedures
  • Colorectal procedures
  • Thoracic surgeries

Patient benefits, according to the company, include smaller incisions, significantly less pain, shorter hospital stays, faster return to normal daily activities, and the potential for better clinical outcomes. Post marketing reports, however, as well as da Vinci robot lawsuits, have linked the system with serious complications.

More plaintiffs filing a da Vinci robot lawsuit

Citron Research issued a report in December 2012, indicating that at least nine davinci robot lawsuits had been filed against Intuitive, alleging bad outcomes following hysterectomies and other procedures. McCalla claims that after his daughter went through the procedure, she suffered a burn in the right external iliac artery, which caused it to pump blood directly into her body cavity. After three failed emergency surgeries, she died in August 2010, just a couple weeks after the da Vinci surgery.

California resident Michelle Zarick went through da Vinci robotic surgery to have growths in her uterus removed, after being told the new procedure would result in less pain and bleeding. She later had to go through corrective surgery because of damaged rectal muscles, and continues to suffer health complications. She filed a da Vinci robot lawsuit seeking damages against Intuitive.

“It forever changed my life for the worse,” she told Bloomberg.

New York medical malpractice lawyers can help

Since 2009, the FDA has received at least 115 adverse event reports connected to the da Vinci system, and has begun to survey surgeons about potential complications. In 2009, the Mayo Clinic found vaginal wound complications in 21 of 510 robot hysterectomies done between 2004 and 2008, a rate higher than non-robotic methods. An analysis published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology in 2011 found the complication occurs in almost two percent of robot hysterectomies—more than twice the rate of non-robotic procedures.

Complications with robotic surgery may include lacerations; tears and burns to the uterus, intestines, and blood vessels; and vaginal cuff dehiscence, a separation of the vaginal incision. New Yorkers who have suffered these injuries and more may benefit from a free consultation with the New York medical malpractice lawyers at The Sanders Firm. We can help you organize the facts of your case, and give you key information on your potential eligibility for a da Vinci robot lawsuit. Call us today at 1-800-FAIR-PLAY