NEW YORK – Surgery can often be intimidating. With so many active biological parts, the human body is one of the most complex machines in nature and one slip of the scalpel can change a person’s life. A patient must place all of his or her trust in the surgeon holding the knife.
In some ways, a surgery can be like the movie The Terminator (hear us out on this).
Although you hope your surgeon never says “I’ll be back,” a patient is often heavily sedated throughout the process. For some patients, an operation can quickly turn into a nightmare involving doctors, knives and yes, robots.
“Your clothes, give them to me.”
Did we mention robots? Since 2007, more than 2 million surgeries were conducted by robo-doctors and a new study found these robots can be real-life terminators.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) counted the number of errors these wire-head doctors were responsible for over the past 13 years. The results have experts concerned, to say the least.
Robo-assisted surgeries resulted in:
-8,061 device malfunctions
New York personal injury attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say many of the robo-errors can be attributed to defective products and sometimes (and ironically), human error.
“Automated surgeries often have a professional surgeon in front of a computer screen, orchestrating the operation from the same hospital room in New York,” personal injury lawyer Ross Cellino said. “In other cases, pieces of equipment can fall off and burn a patient, or require a manual surgery.”
According to research on the subject, at least one person died and 119 others were injured as a result of pieces falling off a robo-surgeon into the patient. Human surgical teams would then intervene and play a real-life game of Operation to get the broken hardware out of a patient’s body.
The most dangerous kid of robo-surgery is cardiothoracic and head and neck surgeries, which have resulted in only an 80-percent success rate, according to research.
“Any time a patient goes under the knife, they’re taking a risk,” Cellino said. “At the same time, it is the surgeon’s responsibility to make sure a patient leaves the operating room alive and without lasting injuries.”
Although the FDA study shows a dramatic increase in the number of robot-related injuries, experts say robo-operations are still safer than traditional surgeries that are done by hand. It’s difficult to compare the two, however.
When mistakes are made, lawsuits are often settled out of court with an agreement that hospitals admit no-fault in an accident. This allows the machines to become an easy scape-goat for surgeons working long hours; blaming the hardware instead of faulting themselves.
Personal injury attorneys say if you’ve been injured during a surgery, it doesn’t matter whether the doctor or machine is to blame. Contact a lawyer for a case evaluation.