Escalating Da Vinci Robotic Surgery Problems Cause Drop In Sales

Poor sales of the da Vinci Surgical System caused the manufacturer’s shares to plummet last week. The news comes amid growing safety concerns surrounding the robotic system, which is used in hundreds of thousands of operations each year, including heart and gynecological surgeries.

According to a recent NBC report, the FDA has received more than 200 reports of da Vinci robotic surgery problems since 2007.

Intuitive Surgical, the company that makes the revolutionary system, reported second quarter sales of around $215 million, down from $229 million in the same quarter of 2012. This year, the firm’s total revenue is predicted to be $575 million, around $55 million less than earlier projections. Intuitive’s stock value dropped 18% after the sales figures were published.

Wall Street analysts are making dire predictions about the future of Intuitive’s technology. Investment research firm Citron Research released a report that predicted stock prices for Intuitive will drop to $250 by mid-2014. The report said that new sales will ‘flatline’ as more people come forward with allegations of complications caused by the system.

Nearly 400,000 robotic-assisted surgeries were performed last year, according to Intuitive’s figures. A study published in February in the Journal of the American Medical Association stated the da Vinci system’s use in hysterectomies rose from 0.5% in 2007, to 9.5% in 2010. As the popularity of robotic surgery has grown, so too have claims that it  may not be as safe as once thought. Most of the complaints allege burns, cuts, organ punctures or septic infections, and some patients have filed a da Vinci robot surgery lawsuit against Intuitive, seeking damages to cover medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Da Vinci robotic surgery problems

The da Vinci robot is comprised of four metal arms, operated remotely by surgeons with hand and foot controls, and a virtual representation of the patient’s internal organs. Promoted as a superior, less invasive form of surgery, the system has purportedly caused severe complications during routine procedures.

As reported by CNBC, one patient received a laceration to a main artery during a hysterectomy. She died of her injuries 13 days later. Her father has filed a da Vinci robot surgery lawsuit, claiming her death was caused by the system.

Questions have been raised about inadequate training provided to surgeons, with critics expressing concern that the widespread uptake of the technology is driven more by its high-tech appeal than regard for patient safety. A government report published in January 2013 concluded that robotically assisted and traditional hysterectomies had similar rates of morbidity, but the former incurred ‘substantially more costs.’

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists condemned the use of robotic hysterectomies, indicating a lack of evidence for any benefit to patients compared to other forms of surgery.

Filing a da Vinci robot surgery lawsuit

Litigation against Intuitive Surgical is under way in a number of federal and state courts, with plaintiffs claiming the company failed to warn them of the risks. Many also allege that Intuitive offers inadequate training to surgeons on how to use the device.

If you or a loved one suffered injuries stemming from da Vinci robotic surgery problems, you may be eligible for compensation. To find out if you qualify to file a da Vinci robot surgery lawsuit, contact The Sanders Firm at 1-800 FAIR PLAY for a free case evaluation.