Monday, April 8, 2013


Surgery using robotic instrumentation is an emerging technology presenting both potential and pitfalls. Robotic surgical technologies were initially developed by the United States Military to allow distant surgeons to remotely operate near the battlefield. This promise was never fulfilled. However, the manufacturers of robotic instrumentation have aggressively promoted this technology to civilian markets. As today's hospitals compete with each other for surgical patients, offering the latest technologies has become a significant marketing tool. Minimally invasive surgery, open MRI imaging and robotic surgical capabilities have become necessary acquisitions by hospitals that want to compete at the level of radio, TV, billboards and internet marketing. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration, the United States Office of Technology Assessment and other branches of the government are trying to determine whether the benefits of robotic surgery produce superior outcomes to current open and laparoscopic surgical techniques. For some procedures robotic surgery may prevail, but for most, the increased costs do not justify similar or lesser outcomes. Too many surgeons too poorly trained and lacking experience are practicing on living patients as you read this article. For some procedures, as many as 100 procedures using the robot are necessary before the surgeon develops adequate competence. Patients should always be sure to ask the surgeon proposing robotic surgery how many of these specific procedures the surgeon has actually performed as the main surgeon. In a recent case, the first of its kind in Michigan, Charfoos & Christensen attorneys sued a major Michigan hospital for injuries caused during the performance of a robotic surgery, only to find out that this was the surgeon's third surgery using a robot. Had the procedure been performed laparoscopically or with an open incision, it would have taken six (6) hours. Instead, due to the inexperience of the surgeon, the surgery took 12 1/2 hours and the patient ended up with a significant injury to the leg because the patient, once positioned for robotic surgery, cannot be moved until the robot is undocked at the end of the surgery. On our website is a more expansive article published in Trial Magazine that more fully documents and identifies the several serious downsides to robotic surgery. Charfoos & Christensen has the resources and experience necessary to help you pursue a medical malpractice claim and/or products liability claim for injuries caused by robotic surgical mishaps. Charfoos & Christensen was one of the first law firms in the nation to file suit against improperly trained surgeons causing injury to patients using robotic surgical devices. If you believe you have been injured or have lost a loved one during a robotics procedure, please contact one of our highly knowledgeable robotic surgery attorneys. Charfoos & Christensen lawyers are here to answer your questions and to discuss how you can protect your legal rights. Call our Detroit office at 313.875.8080, or toll free at 1.800.247.5974.

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