However, despite their touted precision, these machines aren't completely infallible. This harsh reality hit home for one unfortunate woman undergoing treatment for colon cancer when a surgical robot allegedly caused a burn injury to her organs during the procedure.
From New York Post:
A grieving widower is suing a medical manufacturer, claiming that its device burned a hole in his wife’s organs during a procedure to treat her colon cancer, eventually leading to her death.
Harvey Sultzer, husband of the late Sandra Sultzer, filed a lawsuit on Feb. 6 against Intuitive Surgical (IS) claiming his wife suffered health complications following a procedure completed by their surgical robot.
Sandra underwent an operation at Baptist Health Boca Raton Regional Hospital in September 2021 to treat her colon cancer using the da Vinci robot, a multi-armed, remote-controlled device, according to the lawsuit.
The device is advertised “to enable precision beyond the limits of the human hand,” being “designed to provide surgeons with natural dexterity while operating through small incisions,” allowing for minimally invasive procedures.
The lawsuit claims that the device burned a hole in her small intestine, which required Sandra to undergo additional medical interventions.
After the procedures, Sandra continued to suffer abdominal pain and had a fever until she died in February 2022 as “a direct and proximate result of the injuries she suffered,” the lawsuit claims.
The suit alleges that IS knew the robot had insulation issues that could cause the device to burn internal organs — which an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between 2009 and 2011 found numerous reports of — but didn’t disclose that risk to the Sultzer family or the public.