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What are the risks of robotic surgery?

Recently, a viral video touted the miraculous advancement of robotic surgery methods by showing the machinery performing an intricate procedure on a grape. While you may understandably be impressed by this technology, you and other New York residents might also have questions and concerns. Just how safe is robotic surgery? Have there been any accidents?

Like any surgical procedure, especially a new one involving complicated technology, robotic surgery has not been without mishaps, according to BBC News. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois and the Rush University Medical Center compiled a report that has attributed 144 deaths and more than 1,000 injuries to complications involving robotic surgical procedures in the United States. You may find the following reported accident types worrisome:

  • Broken machinery parts falling into patients’ bodies while they are sedated
  • Inaccurate error codes or interrupted video feeds disrupting a procedure
  • Machinery experiencing sudden, uncontrolled movements or spontaneously powering on and off
  • Burning and charring caused by electrical sparks

This is not to say that robotic surgery should be feared or discouraged. Many surgeons say machine-assisted procedures come with less risk of infection during recovery, as well as patients healing faster from surgery. However, as with any new procedure, professionals need to learn the methods, troubleshoot problems and attempt to prevent adverse events. Machines, like people, are not infallible. If you are injured during a surgical procedure, whether due to a human or machine error, you may wish to seek compensation. Since this topic is complex, this post is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.

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