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Technology not to blame in robotic surgery injuries

When a mistake is made during a robotic surgical procedure in an Illinois hospital, it is more than likely not due to a problem with the technology being used. According to findings presented at the AAGL Global Congress on Minimally Invasive Gynecology, over 30 percent of the time, a surgical error during a robotic procedure is due to operator error or robot failure.

Researchers studied data from 2006 to 2012 related to incidents with robotics. During this time, simple hysterectomies were the most common type of surgery and reported incidents went from zero to 103. Of those reported incidents, just over a quarter resulted in injury and 8.5 percent led to the death of the patient. Nearly half of the 24 deaths reported were due to issue unrelated to the robot, but researchers were unable to come to conclusions about the causes of the other half.

The authors of the study point out that, due to under reporting, this information does not create a full picture of robotic surgeries. They stress that it is essential to continue to gather and look at data related to injuries stemming from operations using robots to better understand issues related to these procedures. One of the co-authors stated that one of the reasons for the study was to show doctors that using robots does not necessarily equate to better physicians.

Surgical errors almost inevitably lead to complications for a patient that could lead to the development of other conditions and, in some cases, death. When this occurs, individuals are likely to rack up even larger medical bills and lose even more income from missing work. A medical malpractice attorney could help someone determine what led to an error taking place and assist them in pursuing legal action.

Source: Contemporary OB/GYN, "Operator error, system failure may equal injury In robotics ", Judith M. Orvos, November 14, 2013

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