For more information or confidential assistance
Call 800-306-3180

Da Vinci Lawsuit Adds to Claims Against Intuitive Surgical Inc.

On October 1, da Vinci lawsuit Armstrong vs. Intuitive Surgical Inc. was removed from the U.S. District Court of Minnesota. Once removed, the case can be transferred to or consolidated in another federal court where similar cases are being heard. This action was allowed partly because the damages requested exceed $75,000 and because there are more than 50 similar lawsuits of plaintiffs claiming personal injury from the DaVinci surgical robot pending around the country.

Minnesota woman suffers DaVinci surgery problems

A DaVinci surgical robot caused significant life-threatening injuries to 27-year-old plaintiff Kahlilah Armstrong during a routine hysterectomy and right ovarian cystectomy in June of 2008, according to the da Vinci lawsuit.

She suffered severe and continuing pain, requiring multiple trips to the emergency room following her surgery. Exams were initially unable to determine the cause of her suffering; but a revision surgery in September 2008 eventually revealed that she had dense adhesions and connective scarring between the right adexna and the bowel.

Furthermore, the ovary was scarred to the colon, which required surgical removal. The appendix needed to be taken out as part of the “complete pain clean up” process as well. Revision surgeries put patients at greater risk of infection and injury, not to mention cost more money, physical pain and emotional grief.

Initially, the plaintiff had no idea that the DaVinci robot could have caused her suffering, but in June of 2013 she began hearing reports of other DaVinci surgery problems where the robot’s inadequate insulation was blamed for internally burning patients without surgeons knowing, as said event occurred outside the scope of the cameras. These alarming reports caused Kahlilah Armstrong to file a claim against Intuitive Surgical Inc.

Plaintiff seeking over $75,000 in damages in Da Vinci lawsuit

Kahlilah Armstrong is suing on five separate counts, including:

  • Strict product liability – claiming that the device was defectively designed and manufactured
  • Negligence – claiming that the defendant failed to warn consumers and surgeons about product risks
  • Breach of express warranty – claiming that the device was not of merchantable quality
  • Breach of implied warranty – claiming that the product was not properly tested before going to market
  • Unjust enrichment – claiming that the Defendant accepted payment from the hospital without ensuring safety

She is seeking compensation to cover past and future economic damages, loss of earnings and impaired earning capacity, past and future medical expenses, past and future mental distress, restitution, attorney fees and pre-judgment interest.

Da Vinci lawsuit news and updates

Bloomberg News reports that Intuitive Surgical is defending about 50 product liability lawsuits and dealing with increased scrutiny from federal regulators who are assessing the safety and efficacy of the Da Vinci robot. “Robotic operations haven’t been proven in randomized trials to offer significant health benefits compared with standard, less-invasive surgery and multiple studies show they can cost thousands of dollars more,” according to the news outlet.

Intuitive Surgical adamantly denies all claims of negligence and product defects, stating that they are always working to improve upon their system and that recent updates have had nothing to do with the Da Vinci robotic surgery lawsuits filed across the country. The initial request to form a centralized MDL was denied last year when there were only four cases against the robot manufacturer, but this number is growing tremendously.

The Orange County Register reports at least 71 Da Vinci robot related deaths since 2000, while a report by Citron states there have been 2,332 adverse events related to robot surgery reported to the FDA in the first eight months of 2013 alone. It is likely that some — if not all – of these cases will need to be consolidated in some way to hasten the discovery process and move these complaints toward resolution.