North Texas Woman Files Lawsuit Alleging Serious Injuries during da Vinci Robotic Surgery

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Robotic surgery has been gaining in popularity, with nearly 400,000 robotic procedures performed last year in the United States alone. But reports of serious injuries and deaths have brought the safety of robotic surgery into question.

Kay L. Van Wey

Kay L. Van Wey, Dallas medical malpractice attorney

Intuitive is very deliberate in its advertising. The company markets the da Vinci robot as a safer alternative to traditional surgeries, but many medical experts have questioned these claims.

A North Texas woman has filed a lawsuit in Collin County District Court against Intuitive Surgical, Inc., maker of the da Vinci Surgical System, after she suffered a bowel injury during a robotic hysterectomy (Case No. 429-03966-2013).

The da Vinci robot has become a popular alternative to laparoscopic surgery and was used in nearly 400,000 surgeries last year. But reports of serious injuries and even patient deaths have many medical professionals questioning the safety of the robot. Since January 1, 2012, an estimated 500 adverse events reports have been filed with the FDA, alleging the da Vinci robot caused either serious injuries or death.

One North Texas woman knows the devastating injuries that the da Vinci robot can cause. She was scheduled to undergo a robotic hysterectomy at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Plano in October 2011, but during the surgery, the doctor lost the needle as it was being removed from the incision site, also known as a port. Somehow during the procedure, the woman’s bowel was lacerated, causing fecal material to spill out into her abdominal cavity.

Because of the injuries she suffered during robotic surgery, the woman quickly became septic and had to undergo a second surgery in which another doctor performed a small bowel resection. When her condition worsened, she had to undergo yet another surgery to wash out the abdomen and have her appendix removed. After that, she endured a long, grueling recovery.

The lawsuit, filed on October 1, 2013, alleges that Intuitive Surgical promised to train physicians at the hospital on how to use the robot. According to the lawsuit, the only training the doctor received was a short video presentation, one day of training on pigs, and only two proctored procedures on humans. At this time, the number of da Vinci surgeries the physician performed and her rate of complications prior to the case in question are unknown.

Dallas medical malpractice attorney Kay L. Van Wey represents the woman. “I have serious questions about the adequacy of the training this surgeon received prior to operating on my client,” says Ms. Van Wey.

“Intuitive is very deliberate in its advertising. The company markets the da Vinci robot as a safer alternative to traditional surgeries, such as hysterectomies, but many medical experts have questioned these claims,” says Ms. Van Wey.

The lawsuit, pending before the Honorable Judge Jill Willis in the 429th District Court, also includes claims against the doctor and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Plano.

To learn more about injuries caused by the da Vinci robot, please visit

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Kay Van Wey
since: 01/2009
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Van Wey Law, PLLC - Texas Board Certified Personal Injury Law Firm
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