According to a review by the Bloomberg News, robot systems made by Intuitive Surgical Inc. (ISRG) are linked to at least 70 deaths since 2009. The lawsuits being filed in the last 14 months are now adding new details about dangerous complications involving the da Vinci robots made by Intuitive.
Intuitive dominates the robot-surgery field since it is the only company whose system is cleared in the U.S. for soft tissue procedures. These procedures include general surgery, prostate operations, gynecological surgery, and heart surgery. The benefits include a better camera system, robot arms that can precisely mimic natural hand movements inside the body, and improved surgeon ergonomics to reduce fatigue.
In robot surgery, a physician sits at a video-game style console several feet from the patient and peers into a high-definition display. Foot pedals and hand controls maneuver mechanical arms equipped with tools, guided by a 3-D camera that shows the work as it is done inside a patient. This is different from the other minimally-invasive operations in which doctors stand over the patient and manually manipulate instruments and a tiny camera through multiple small incisions.
The reports, from doctors, patients and companies, do not necessarily mean the robots caused any deaths, only that they were involved in procedures in which deaths occurred.