During Patient’s Robotic Surgery, The Device Fails! Staff Couldn’t Fix It!


At an out-of-state hospital, during a robotic surgery on a patient’s NECK the device stopped working and the team was unable to fix the robot! This is a case of when medicine and technology mix there can be new problems that arise that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise. Around a month ago I had posted an article about a robotic surgery gone wrong, and I think a few weeks before that I explained it robot surgery in detail. Now this case brings up some of the concerns that I had.

The patient was undergoing a thyroidectomy in her neck when the robot malfunctioned. The doctor performing the surgery remotely could not get the robot to restart, and the support staff in the OR could not get it to continue working either. The robot company is required to have support staff available to take care of problems, however the hospital was unable to get anyone there to take care of it!

The surgery had to be converted into a traditional surgery which ended up creating a bigger incision than the patient had wanted or consented to. The patient has now filed a lawsuit at the doctor, the hospital, and the manufacturer of the robot for physical pain, mental anguish, medical expenses, interest and court costs.

I think cases like these will continue to happen and even become more common! There are enough medical malpractice cases when the doctor is performing the surgery traditionally. Now, a computer or robot is serving as a middle man and you are just adding another element that could go wrong like it did here. THANKFULLY this was not during another major surgery or a life-threatening emergency surgery (for example, doctors in the US completing surgeries in Iraq for surgeries critically wounded).

There should be more regulation and I hope the manufacturer and the hospital get stuck with the bill; there really needs to be support staff available. Here, the doctor really did NOTHING wrong other than perform the surgery to the best of his ability but the machine malfunctioned. The hospitals need to take greater responsibility for these occurrences.

But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at jfisher@fishermalpracticelaw.com . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.