Human error is a risk factor in almost everything you do. Drivers making mistakes is the primary cause of most motor vehicle crashes. A chef who fails to check the temperature of a pork dish before serving it could expose their customers to dangerous pathogens. A doctor exhausted after a long day at work might make a mistake or oversight that affects a patient’s health and recovery.
Creating systems that minimize the risk of human error can make everyday experiences safer. Vehicles with self-driving features can alert drivers if they get too close to other vehicles nearby, for example. The invention of robotic surgical devices created the potential for error-free surgical procedures.
However, this technology is still new, which means that mistakes do still occur. Do patients ever get hurt during procedures performed by robotic surgical devices?
Human error and mechanical failure put patients at risk
There is one brand commonly associated with surgical robots, and that is the da Vinci Surgical System. These multi-armed systems are incredible tools that allow doctors to perform highly intricate surgeries without the risk that would come from a human’s hand shaking or slipping.
Most surgical patients benefit from the precision and safety of robotic surgery. The procedures are less invasive, and recovery times are often shorter after a robotic surgery when compared with the same procedure performed by a human.
Unfortunately, those programming the device to perform a surgery can make a mistake during that process, as can those supervising a procedure or directly controlling the robot during an operation. Improperly maintained surgical robots can also malfunction during a procedure.
Although there isn’t a clear record of robotic surgery injuries, nationwide, there have been more than 2,000 people injured during a robotic surgery. At least 274 people have died during a robotic surgery, and there have been almost 17,000 reported malfunctions by these expensive, cutting-edge units.
Just because a robot performs the surgery doesn’t mean you lose your rights
Medical malpractice claims don’t just relate to the physician performing the procedure. They can also be against a facility with bad internal policies or inadequate maintenance practices.
Those who get hurt during a robotic surgery because of human error or a device malfunction, as well as those who lose a loved one during a procedure, may have grounds to bring a claim against the physician or facility.