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Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Personal Injury > Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit Claims That Robotic Arm Burned And Tore A Woman’s Intestine During Surgery

Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit Claims That Robotic Arm Burned And Tore A Woman’s Intestine During Surgery


The family of a Florida woman has filed a personal injury wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturer of the robotic arm that allegedly failed during her surgery. According to the lawsuit, the robot arm burned and tore the woman’s small intestine while she was undergoing surgery for colon cancer. The decedent developed abdominal pain and fever after the surgery was performed in September 2021. She required additional procedures to repair the damage allegedly caused by the robotic arm. The lawsuit says that she died in February 2022 due to a tear in her small intestine. Her husband is suing the device manufacturer, Intuitive Surgical for wrongful death.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs contend that Intuitive Surgical knew that the robot arm had insulation problems that could cause electricity to leak out and burn internal organs during surgery but never disclosed that risk to the plaintiffs or the public. The suit further alleges that Intuitive Surgical sells robotic arms to hospitals that have no experience in robotic surgery and fails to properly train surgeons in the proper use of the device. While the company does offer a training program, it has no power to require surgeons to complete it.

Allegations related to Intuitive Surgical’s robotic device go back more than a decade, according to the lawsuit. The suit alleges that the company has received thousands of reports concerning injuries and defects associated with the “da Vinci” device but has “systematically underreported” injuries to the Food and Drug Administration.

A 2014 financial report filed with the SEC appears to indicate that the company was the defendant in 93 lawsuits at that time. The allegations in these lawsuits are similar to those that the aforementioned plaintiff is making in her suit against Intuitive. Many of the plaintiffs underwent surgeries using the da Vinci Surgical System and they, in turn, sustained personal injuries as a result of the process. In some cases, individuals died due to the injuries they sustained during surgery.

The lawsuit mentioned above indicates that Intuitive received hundreds of complaints and reports about its da Vinci robot between July 2009 and December 2011. Several of these reports mentioned cracks on a rubber tip used to cover da Vinci’s metal instruments. These defects are believed to allow electricity to escape without the surgeon’s knowledge.

A 2011 report conducted by researchers at the University of Western Ontario flagged several safety concerns with the surgical instruments used by the device. The researchers tested 37 instruments and found that all of them had “energy leakage,” which was often sufficient enough to cause electrical burns.

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