Robotic surgical systems have recently come under scrutiny after many patients have suffered poor outcomes. Lawsuits allege that surgeons, hospitals and robotic device manufacturers, such as Intuitive Surgical, Inc., all bear blame for botched procedures. Fortunately, a recent study found that many robotic surgery errors can be prevented by a relatively simple checklist.
Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that robotic surgery mistakes significantly decrease when the operating room (OR) staff goes through a checklist twice during lengthy procedures - both before the operation begins and mid-surgery.
The medical study stated several benefits of a two-time robotic surgery checklist for lengthy operations, including:
- Improved coordination and communication among OR personnel
- Reassessment of patient risks at halfway point of operation - not solely at the beginning
- An opportunity to refocus on the objectives of the procedure
If implemented, this study will help save lives and prevent serious complications - such as infection - in operations lasting more than four hours. Robotic surgery is rapidly growing in popularity, so an effort to minimize associated risks is an important endeavor.
Sadly, many hospitals shrug off such studies because additional safety measures may increase the cost and length of robotic surgeries and decrease profit margins. It's usually money that motivates hospitals to change their protocol - not patient safety.
If you or a loved one has been hurt during a Da Vinci surgical system operation, an experienced surgical negligence attorney can help evaluate your case.
McKeen & Associates, PC, is an accomplished civil justice firm that handles medical negligence claims throughout the country. Based in Detroit, Michigan, the law firm has developed a national reputation in medical malpractice litigation.
Source: PubMed, "The Second 'Time-Out': A Surgical Checklist For Lengthy Robotic Surgeries," JB Song, June 3, 2013