A Florida man has filed a lawsuit against the creators behind a robot surgeon that caused damage to a patient that ultimately led to their death.
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Harvey Sultzer filed a wrongful death lawsuit that claims his late wife, Sandra Sultzer, suffered health complications following her procedure at the Baptist Health Boca Ration Regional Hospital in September 2021. The operation involved treatment of her colon cancer and included the use of a da Vinci surgical robot. For those who don’t know, the da Vinci robot is a multi-armed, remote-controlled device that is used to assist in surgery.
The electrosurgical instruments equipped with the robot are manufactured by a company called ISI, with the University of South Florida confirming the system, which is used to mimic a surgeon’s hand movements, was used during the operation. According to the lawsuit, Sandra suffered a thermal injury to her small intestine, which led to a perforation and further medical intervention.
Sandra continued to suffer abdominal pain and fevers, which led to more procedures and eventually her death in February 2022 as “a direct and proximate result of the injuries she suffered,” per the lawsuit. The suit also claims that Sandra was not made aware of the risks that came with using the robotic surgeon, which is a higher chance of complications during the operation compared to an operation with a laparoscopic instrument.
This isn’t the first time ISI has been sued, with approximately 93 product liability lawsuits alleging patients suffered at the hands of the robot, even to the point of death. ISI is being sued for more than $75,000 for negligence, product liability, including design defect and failure to warn, loss of consortium, and punitive damages.