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Should companies warn about dangerous medical devices?

Most people in Pennsylvania know that undergoing invasive medical procedures carries a certain degree of risk. Anyone who has undergone such a procedure is familiar with the routines leading up to the event. Included in these routines is an explanation of potential side effects. Based on this knowledge, patients can determine if the potential side effects outweigh the benefits. However, one lawsuit is questioning the responsibility of manufacturers to warn doctors of potentially dangerous medical devices.

Recently, a woman has filed a lawsuit against Intuitive Surgical, the maker of the da Vinci robot, a device used to perform surgeries. This recent filing joins 26 others against the company, alleging that the plaintiffs were seriously injured as a result of its use during their surgeries. The majority of lawsuits make similar claims against the company.

The most recent lawsuit deals with the potential for injury during surgery. The plaintiff claims that Intuitive Surgical knew that there was a tendency for an electrical charge to travel from the robot to the patient. Additionally, she claims that despite this knowledge, the company did not warn physicians of this potential defect. Her lawsuit claims that she has suffered severe stomach pain as well as other issues as a result of the surgery using the da Vinci robot.

In order for patients to make informed decisions about recommended medical treatment, they need accurate information and full disclosure about potentially dangerous medical devices. People in Pennsylvania who feel they are victims of similar circumstances have the right to have their case heard in a civil court. In many cases, plaintiffs who can prove their claims are awarded monetary damages as a result of a company's negligence.

Source:, "Robot maker did not do enough to warn of possible complications during surgery, suit alleges," Dan Goldberg, Aug. 4, 2013

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