Intuitive Surgical, the company who developed and markets the da Vinci surgical robot, is facing another lawsuit challenging the sufficiency of the warnings that the manufacturer provided with the device. Recently, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that a plaintiff could proceed with a product liability lawsuit on behalf of her deceased husband against Intuitive Surgical. In his complaint, the plaintiff alleged that he suffered serious physical injuries during a prostatectomy using the da Vinci surgical device. According to the plaintiff’s allegations, the physician who performed the surgery noticed during the procedure that the plaintiff’s rectal wall had suffered lacerations. As a result of this complication, the physician had to perform immediate open surgery to repair the lacerations.
Following the surgery, the husband reported experiencing a serious reduction in his quality of life. During ventilation, the husband experienced respiratory failure requiring ventilation, renal failure, and an infection. The husband’s complaint also alleged that he was required to wear a colostomy bag and that he also experienced incontinence. The complaint also alleged neuromuscular damage and that the husband was unable to work correctly without assistance. Roughly four years after the procedure, the husband died. According to a physician who testified on behalf of the plaintiff, the da Vinci robot’s malfunction was a contributing factor in the husband’s death.