Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG) will be facing a rough patch in the future as a result of the expose recently released by CNBC. The news company talked about Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci robot as the company is finding itself the target of numerous lawsuits.
CNBC talked about three individuals — Sonya Melton, Kimberly McCalla, and Shawn Todd — who thought they were getting routine procedures. Todd and Melton suffered sever complications during their surgeries and nearly died. They were both in the hospital for weeks, and were both operated on by the da Vinci robot. McCalla died 13 days after her surgery, and her father claimed that she bled into her pelvis due to a lacerated main artery.
Intuitive Surgical refused to comment on these cases due to the pending litigation. Although most robotic procedures take place without a problem, but there is more and more impending litigation claiming that complications and death is resulting from surgery involving the da Vinci robot, according to CNBC.
Many of the reported injuries that occur during the robotic surgery seem to be burns as well as other other heat-related injuries to the bowels, intestines, ureter, and other organs, says CNBC, according to interviews with the alleged victims, lawsuits, complaints, and a FDA database.
Blaudeau, the attorney for Todd and Melton, claims that many of the burns are due to the use of monopolar energy that can cause sparks resulting in residual damage. Intuitive stated that the use of monopolar energy is not limited to robotic surgery and that it ”is confident that the da Vinci surgical system deploys monopolar energy in a safe and effective way when used as indicated.”
Intuitive has been trying to improve the situation by using tip covers. The tip covers were replaced in May 2012, and CNBC had information that showed they asked hospitals to immediately replace the covers without any explanation. The new tip covers do not appear to be entirely effective with stopping problems stemming from monopolar energy. Critics say that the new tips do not entirely solve the problem.
Investing Insights: Is Pfizer a Good Defensive Play?