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Understanding How Surgical Errors May Occur with Da Vinci

The Da Vinci Surgical System by Intuitive Surgical Inc. is not really all that new. It was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the US on July 11, 2000. While it made waves in the medical community when it was first made commercially available, it was only in the last three years that it became spotlighted for the general public. Unfortunately, it is because of the surgical errors and injuries that have become associated with the technology.

Under usual circumstances, liability for surgical errors is placed on the surgeon as medical malpractice. However, with the use of the Da Vinci which is considered a supervisory-controlled robotic surgery system, the problem may be in the tool itself rather than the wielder. To understand how this can happen, one must know how the system works.

The da Vinci is made up of the surgical arm unit which is placed near the patient and a console for the surgeon who will be viewing and controlling the arm unit from several feet away. The system is designed so that the surgeon is the one making all the moves, using a joystick to control the motions of the three or four arms the robot may have. Small incisions are made in the abdomen in which stainless steel rods are placed. One of the rods is equipped with two endoscopic cameras while the others have surgical tools attached. The surgeon is then provided with a 3D image of the patient’s insides without having to actually open up the patient or touch the instruments.

There are two ways that are immediately apparent that surgical errors may occur. One is based on the lack of physical contact between the surgeon and patient could affect how the surgeon intuits the condition of the patient, something that may be balanced out with proper training. The other is the use of electrical instrument which may malfunction at any time. Surgeons have reported numerous incidents of a system freeze or shutdown in the middle of a procedure, necessitating a switch to more traditional surgical methods. Some patients experience inadvertent electrical burns to internal organs. These may all be considered surgical errors leading to injury.

The Da Vinci system has its merits, but it has a long way to go before it can be all that it can be in surgery.

Wrong Site Surgery

In the United States, recent figures estimate that surgical errors occur nearly forty times per week in hospitals across the country. Among those, one unfortunately common error is wrong site surgery, in which a physician operates on the incorrect limb or body part. Surgeries are already complicated and dangerous operations that require a high degree of skill to maximize their benefits and minimize the harm to the patient that could be caused by such an invasive procedure. When medical professionals do not act carefully and responsibly with regard to surgical procedures, they run the risk of causing patients additional harm and injury that could have been avoided.

Causes and Types of Wrong Site Surgery

Surgeries often require several teams of medical workers to work together and communicate clearly with one another to ensure that the patient is adequately prepared for the operation and to ensure that the surgeon knows which procedure the patient is scheduled for. When any of these medical professionals are negligent in their duties or fails to communicate with the workers who are involved in the procedure, they are very likely to cause a wrong site surgery. A few of the causes and types of wrong site surgery are:

  • Surgeon does not meet with the patient beforehand and is, thus, unfamiliar with the case
  • The workers who prepared the patient for surgery marked the wrong site
  • The surgeon operates on the wrong body part
  • The surgeon operates on the correct area, but performs the wrong procedure
  • The surgeon operates on the wrong patient

Although many hospitals have protocols which should control how surgical procedures are carried out, medical workers who take shortcuts or become lax can be a threat to a patients well-being.

Understanding Wrong Site Surgery

Many surgical errors are the result of poor communication, which could potentially be mitigated by ensuring that the surgeon is familiar with you, your condition, and the operation you are scheduled for. Wrong site surgery is among the mistakes that hospitals classify as “never events.” These are events that are inexcusable and should never happen. Doctors or hospitals that are responsible for these events can be held accountable for the serious damage that often results from such negligence.

In the event that you have been the victim of a doctor’s neglect, such as after a wrong site surgery, you may want to contact a team of malpractice attorneys to ensure that your rights are protected.

Medical Malpractice And Wrongful Death

Dealing with medical issues is never easy, but being able to trust your physician and medical specialists can go a long way to ease concerns as you work toward an acceptable treatment plan. Usually, patients are able to trust their doctors to use their skill, experience, and knowledge to determine a diagnosis and work out the best treatment options, resulting in the best possible outcome for the patient.

However, there are some unfortunate cases in which doctors, whether through a lack of necessary training in skill, or a failure to apply their talents and care, end up harming patients. In some cases, the mistakes made by incompetent doctors can actually be fatal. These are tragic cases. For family members of those who have passed, the only restitution may be legal action against the negligent medical professional responsible for their loved one’s untimely death.

Common Fatal Errors

Medical professionals are rightfully held to a high standard. All medical professionals understand that their conduct should be in line with those standards. Falling short or deviating from the acceptable level of care, or carrying out radically different courses of diagnosis and treatment, can lead to devastating consequences. Some of the potential mistakes doctors and other medical professionals can make during their treatment of patients include:

  • Incorrect Diagnosis
  • Delayed Diagnosis
  • Failure to Diagnose
  • Incorrect treatment
  • Failure to administer treatment
  • Delayed treatment
  • Failing to warn patients of potential risks of treatment

Unfortunately, these types of mistakes are not only dangerous, they can sometimes be fatal. For families who have lost a loved one to medical malpractice, financial compensation through legal action cannot repair the loss of someone they loved. However, it may offer a level of relief from the financial consequences of the loss, as well as some peace of mind when the negligent party is held responsible. If your loved passed away due to negligence on the part of a medical professional, contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer to begin discussing your case today.

The Deal With Cardiovascular Problems and GranuFlo

Many medical conditions involve disruption to kidney processes, and advanced procedures have been developed which protect the health and well being of patients by replacing the function of the kidneys through artificial processes. This technique is referred to as dialysis, and is an essential part of kidney treatment which has saved countless lives over the course of its implementation since it was created. Bypassing the kidneys, dialysis seeks to artificially screen out waste material and other toxins from the bloodstream through a variety of chemical methods, including the use of specialized drugs such as Granuflo, a dry acid concentrate developed by Fresenius Medical Care for dialysis purposes.

Fresenius failed its customers however when it neglected to fully explore the potential side effects of the drug, which have now been shown to include an extremely increased level of bicarbonates in the bloodstream of patients. This has the deadly effect of greatly increasing patients’ risk of various cardiovascular diseases and problems such as heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, arrhythmia, and a host of other challenges. Rather than assisting the patient overcome the challenges they are already facing which required dialysis in the first place, GranuFlo has instead subjected hundreds of patients to deadly diseases and heart conditions. These injuries can result in a extreme financial hardship for the victims and their families as they attempt to deal with significant medical expenses and simultaneous lost wages from time spent way from work.

Recovering compensation for your losses is still possible in these situations however. Due to the fact that an Food and Drug Administration Class 1 recall of GranuFlo has clearly identified the drug ans a dangerous product, proving that Fresenius was negligent in producing the drug and distributing it to patients is all but given. A GranuFlo lawsuit will be most focused on clearly demonstrating that this negligence directly contributed to the injury of the patient, allowing liability to be established.

Expert Witnesses And Your Medical Malpractice Case

When you go to the doctor for either a routine checkup or major surgery, you expect that these professionals will diagnose and treat you accurately and safely. Medical professionals, like doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, and surgeons go through years of schooling and training before they can receive a medical license to practice medicine professionally. Unfortunately, these medical professionals are not immune from making mistakes and putting your safety in jeopardy.

When careless or reckless medical professionals make mistakes, it could lead to serious repercussions that may drastically alter your life in every possible way. Fortunately, according to, you have options and can take legal action against these doctors or nurses to hold them liable. One way you can strengthen your medical malpractice case is by hiring an expert witness to testify on your behalf. Make sure you consult with a legal professional about the best expert witness for your case.

Why You Need an Expert Witness

Unlike other personal injury cases, medical malpractice lawsuits are often too complicated for many people to understand without the assistance and testimony of a medical professional. Choosing the right witness for your case is a major decision. These witnesses can greatly alter your case by addressing the following issues:

  • How the medical professional should have acted according to the standard of care
  • Details of how the professional deviated from the standard of care
  • Details of your injuries
  • Medical care to treat your injuries in the past and future
  • Future costs associated with your injury including treatment and medication costs

The right expert witness can greatly alter the course of your case so you can recover the necessary financial compensation to pay for additional medical expenses and lost wages.

Types Of Medical Malpractice

There are multiple ways a doctor, nurse, or hospital can create a situation that could be construed as medical malpractice. When it comes to proving medical malpractice in court, it takes a skilled attorney with detailed knowledge of the complex laws revolving around medical malpractice. However, it may be easy to determine if you have a possible medical malpractice situation on your hands. According to the website of Spiros Law, P.C., the following are some general types of medical malpractice that people commonly fall victim to:

Missed Diagnosis Missed diagnoses and incorrect diagnoses are the most common types of errors made by doctors. Doctors have a particular procedure to follow when it comes to diagnosing patients which involves eliminating incorrect diagnoses while searching for the correct one. When a doctor is negligent towards this responsibility, they can easily overlook the correct diagnosis, failing to reach one at all or reaching an incorrect one. The consequences of these mistakes can cause significant damage to the patient if their real condition worsens without being addressed.

Improper Treatment Improper treatment can mean many things. It may mean that a doctor chooses a treatment that isn’t appropriate for the diagnosis, or it can mean a failure on the part of a nurse or an EMT to administer the correct medication to patients, resulting in injuries or further illness.

Failure to Warn Doctors and nurses are expected to provide patients with all of the relevant information about the treatment they intend to administer. This is important, because the patients need to be aware of potential risks before agreeing to pursue a route of treatment. When doctors or nurses fail to provide the necessary information, patients may end up taking risks they otherwise would not have, or agreeing to a treatment that causes and allergic reaction

Medical malpractice is a serious matter that causes thousands of individuals to suffer each year from worsening conditions and additional ailments. If you or a loved one has been the victim of possible medical malpractice, contact a medical malpractice lawyer today.

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