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Robotic surgical errors cause deaths and injuries to patients

Many hospitals and surgical centers in Oregon may employ the use of robots for some surgical procedures. Patients may be lured into a false sense of security regarding the safety of these procedures since the likelihood of human error is dramatically reduced. However, patients and their families need to be aware that robotic surgical errors do occur and have led to death and injuries to patients.

Over the last 14 years, approximately 144 people lost their lives during surgical procedures in which robots were used. Another 1,391 patients suffered injuries during robotic procedures. These numbers may seem small, but any loss of life or injury is unacceptable to the patients undergoing the procedures.

In many cases, undergoing conventional surgery in which robots are not used is just as safe as using a robot. The primary difference is often the cost associated with each procedure. A traditional surgery is often less expensive, but hospitals and surgery centers are accused of pushing the robotic version of the surgery in order to recoup their costs for the equipment. In all fairness, however, some surgeons have been convinced that this method is safer as well.

Every surgical procedure comes with some level of risk. Oregon patients should be skeptical if they are told that surgical errors are eliminated -- or nearly eliminated -- with the use of robots. Mistakes can still occur, and they can be serious and even deadly. If a patient suffers a serious injury -- or a family loses a loved one -- during a robotic surgery, a medical malpractice claim may be appropriate. Ultimately, the medical personnel involved in these procedures are human and should be held responsible for any negligence that occurs.

Source:, "Should You Let Robots Perform Surgery On You?", Ed Cara, July 23, 2015

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