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Robotic procedures may not reduce surgical errors

Advances in medical technology have resulted in an increasing presence of automated procedures, from diagnostic imaging to laser surgeries. In fact, some surgeries are even robotically assisted, with doctors overseeing the procedure from a console, similar to a video-game format.

The use of robotic surgery may raise interesting questions about the culpability of hospital staff or doctors in the event of a medical mistake or patient injury. For starters, although readers might suspect that a robotic surgery might improve safety, several randomized trials haven’t found a noticeable difference, compared to traditional surgeries.

In addition, robotic surgical procedures are much more expensive, and the addition of technology may actually represent just another variable that could go wrong. Documented surgical errors include punctured or torn arteries; objects left inside patients, and even a fatal injury.

Regardless of whether a surgery involves robotic or conventional means, a medical malpractice attorney might caution readers that a doctor’s ethical and professional obligations remain the same. In both scenarios, a doctor has an obligation to fully inform patients of the potential risks associated with a procedure. A doctor is also held to a high standard of care, and any deviation from that quality of care might constitute negligence.

If a patient has been injured by doctor error, he or she may face resistance from the doctor’s malpractice insurance and expert team. An attorney that specializes in surgical errors, however, might have connections and strategies to suggest. An attorney may be able to present expert testimony in a way that explains medical procedures, errors, and resulting injuries in plain and persuasive terms to a jury.

Source:, “Robot Surgery Damaging Patients Rises With Misleading Marketing,” Robert Langreth, Oct. 8, 2013