Two Surgeons Working with Intuitive Surgical to Promote the da Vinci Surgical Robot ‘Downplayed Risks,’ Reports the Orange County Register; Parker Waichman LLP Responds

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For the past decade, two top surgeons at the University of California at Irvine have worked with device maker Intuitive Surgical to promote its $2 million da Vinci surgical robot – doing so despite a lack of scientific evidence to support the robot’s safety or its ability to offer patients better results, the Orange County Register reports. Parker Waichman LLP responds.

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In sales presentations, Intuitive has highlighted the praise for its surgical robot included in scientific papers written by the two surgeons... [The two] also extolled the da Vinci surgical robot in lectures.

Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of victims injured by defective drugs and medical devices, notes that an Orange County Register (OC Register) report published on Sept. 20 highlights the fact that two top surgeons with the University of California (UC) at Irvine have been working with Intuitive Surgical to tout the company’s da Vinci surgical robot “despite a lack of reliable scientific evidence showing that it is safe or gives patients better results.”

In sales presentations, Intuitive has highlighted the praise for its surgical robot included in scientific papers written by the two surgeons, according to the OC Register report, which added that the surgeons also extolled the da Vinci surgical robot in lectures they gave “while travel[ing] the world,” talking to “thousands of physicians.” At the same time, the two repeatedly downplayed any da Vinci risks and proclaimed that a doctor can quickly learn to safely use the robot, according to the Sept. 20 OC Register report.

In the time since this da Vinci robot promotional effort debuted, the devices have found homes in “hundreds” of hospitals, the OC Register reports, adding that, at the same time, there are mounting concerns about the surgical robot. A July 19 Bloomberg report noted that this past February, following a rise in da Vinci robot adverse event reports that included as many as 70 deaths since 2009, U.S. regulators started surveying surgeons about the robots. In that same report, Bloomberg noted that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent a warning letter on July 17 to da Vinci manufacturer Intuitive Surgical after agency inspections in April and May found problems, such as the company’s failure to adequately report device corrections and patient adverse events.

“The article in the Orange County Register is troubling. If the facts as presented are true, one can’t help but wonder about the veracity of claims made to many in the medical profession by the manufacturer and the surgeons who agreed to promote the da Vinci Surgical System,” says national law firm Parker Waichman LLP.

The Sept. 20 OC Register report reveals that, as the number of robotic surgeries performed at hospitals nationally increases, so do reports of injury and death. For the article, a search of the FDA's database found that in 2012 there were 282 injury reports, including 28 deaths, making for a 34 percent increase over 2011 (when there were 211 injury reports, including nine deaths). During the same time span, the number of da Vinci surgeries in the U.S. rose 26 percent, to 367,000, noted the OC Register.

Parker Waichman LLP continues to offer free legal consultations to victims of injuries allegedly caused by the da Vinci surgical robot. If you or a loved one experienced surgical burns, perforated or torn organs, torn blood vessels or other injuries that could be associated with the da Vinci surgical robot, please contact their office by visiting the firm's da Vinci Surgical Robot Lawsuit page at yourlawyer.com. Free case evaluations are also available by calling 1 800 LAW INFO (1-800-529-4636).

Contact:
Parker Waichman LLP
Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney
1+(800) LAW-INFO
1+(800) 529-4636
http://www.yourlawyer.com

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Gary Falkowitz
Parker Waichman LLP

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