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Doctors Bring Action Against da Vinci Surgical Robot After Patients Suffer Metal Fragments in Their Brains

Recently, a group of doctors filed a lawsuit against Intuitive Surgical, the maker of the da Vinci surgical robot. According to their complaint, which they filed in the Northern District Court of Georgia, the device caused metal debris to travel to patients’ brains during mitral valve surgical procedures. This condition is referred to as metallic microemboli. Additionally, the complaint states that Intuitive Surgical and a number of other companies and individuals manufactured and marketed the surgical robot even though they knew that it had certain defects that could result in metallic debris reaching surgical patients’ brains.

The plaintiffs include two patients who underwent surgical procedures for mitral valve-related conditions that involved the da Vinci surgical robot. After surgery, both plaintiffs discovered that metallic debris had traveled to their brains. The injuries that the plaintiffs have suffered as a result are severe, including neurological injuries, emotional suffering, and substantial medical costs associated with diagnosing, monitoring, and treating the microemboli. The plaintiffs are seeking to certify a class action lawsuit encompassing other patients who underwent mitral valve surgeries involving Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci robot.

In May 2016, Intuitive Surgical released an Urgent Product Safety Notice informing the public that its da Vinci robotic device could create metal particulates that could travel to surgical patients’ brains. According to the company, it has not received any notices or reports indicating that patients have suffered injuries of the nature described in the safety notice.

To recover damages in a case involving a defective medical device, a plaintiff can allege a few different legal theories. First, the plaintiff can allege and prove that the defendant manufacturer failed to use reasonable care in the design, manufacturing, or marketing of the product, including any warnings or instructions.

Additionally, the plaintiff can plead a strict product liability theory. Unlike a negligence standard, under a strict product liability theory, the plaintiff does not need to show that the defendant acted carelessly or owed the plaintiff a duty. Instead, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s product was designed in an unreasonably unsafe manner. Some states require a plaintiff pursuing a design defect theory to also show that there was a reasonable alternative design available that the manufacturer had the ability to produce, that was financially feasible, and that would not undermine the device’s ultimate usage or purpose. In other jurisdictions, the plaintiff must prove that the danger posed by the product exceeds the danger that a reasonable consumer would expect.

If you suffered injuries during a surgical procedure involving the da Vinci surgical robot, or any other defective medical device, the dedicated da Vinci lawyers at Moll Law Group are ready to help you fight for your rights. Serving clients throughout the country, including in Illinois, California, New York, and Texas, we offer a free consultation to help you determine the legal remedies that may be available to you and your family. Call us at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to schedule your confidential appointment today.

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