Earlier this month, we reported about a lawsuit in which the plaintiff alleged that she suffered severe injuries after a Da Vinci surgical robot device malfunctioned during a procedure. Now, the developer and manufacturer of the Da Vinci robotic surgery device, Intuitive Surgical, has entered into a settlement with the plaintiff following the close of a two-week trial. The settlement came on the third day of the jury’s deliberations over whether to award the woman compensation for damages to her bowel region that occurred during a routine hysterectomy procedure. The exact terms of the compromise, including the amount of compensation, are unknown at this time.
The plaintiff alleged that she suffered injuries when the scissor component of the Da Vinci robot malfunctioned during surgery due to improper insulation, cutting her internal organs and bowel region. Multiple follow-up procedures were required to address the injuries. According to her treating physicians, the plaintiff experienced permanent injuries and damages. In response, Intuitive Surgical argued that the woman was contributorily negligent because she engaged in sexual activity too soon after the hysterectomy procedure, failing to heed the doctors’ warning to wait the recommended six-to-eight weeks. It also alleged that part of her damages were the result of physical abuse she suffered by her husband. According to her complaint, the plaintiff sought $300 million in damages. During trial, however, the plaintiff sought $30 million.
The litigation marks the second instance in which a lawsuit against Intuitive Surgical regarding its Da Vinci surgical robot has gone to trial. In 2013, a jury in Washington found the company not liable for injuries that the plaintiff sustained during a procedure to remove his prostate. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the company failed to provide sufficient training to doctors and health care professionals regarding the use of the surgical robot device, and that had the physician performing his surgery been trained properly, the injuries would not have resulted. At the time, Intuitive Surgical advised physicians that surgeons would be able to perform operations using the robot after completing only one or two supervised procedures.
There are roughly 20 additional cases pending against the manufacturer that will likely go to trial in May 2016 unless the company enters into similar settlement agreements. Since the Da Vinci surgical robot was approved for use in 2000 by the FDA, there have been at least 70 reports of fatalities associated with the devices. The machine was used in more than 600,000 surgeries and procedures during 2015 alone.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a procedure involving the Da Vinci surgical robot or another dangerous medical device, you may be entitled to compensation. At Moll Law Group, our seasoned team of medical device professionals understands what it takes to gather evidence and to deal with major medical device manufacturers who don’t always have the injured victim’s best interests in mind. Proudly serving clients throughout the country, including in California, Florida, Texas, and Illinois, we offer a free consultation to help you learn about your legal options. Call us now at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to schedule your appointment.