A lawsuit has been filed by two heart surgery patients who were left with metal artifacts after their surgeries. Both patients’ surgeries were completed with the help of the da Vinci Xi robotic surgical device, and the victims claim that the device’s manufacturer, Intuitive Surgical, knew of the risks posed by the device and sold it anyway.
The plaintiffs, Gabrial Nassar Cure and Dr. Alan Kozarsky, each underwent mitral valve surgery. During their surgeries, the men claim that the da Vinci surgical device released metallic particles into their hearts, which subsequently traveled through their blood stream into their brains. The plaintiffs allege that these particles formed blockages in their brains’ blood vessels, causing what are known as microemboli. As a result, the men describe having incurred the need for additional medical treatment, as well as physical, neurological, and mental injury, and emotional distress. The plaintiffs are seeking $5 million in damages to compensate them for their injuries, as well as punitive damages intended to punish Intuitive for marketing and selling a device which it knew to be dangerous. The plaintiffs are also seeking to represent other victims who developed microemboli after undergoing surgery with the da Vinci Xi by certifying their case as a class action lawsuit.
Microemboli do not always present symptoms in those who possess them. However, when a number of microemboli occur at once, patients may experience what is known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a “warning stroke.” Symptoms of TIAs include difficulty speaking, walking, or seeing out of one or both eyes, numbness on one side of the body, and loss of balance. Microemboli can also cause headaches, and have been linked to forgetfulness, depression, anxiety, and irritability in some victims.
Earlier this spring, Intuitive published what is known as a Field Safety Notice, disclosing that it discovered the risk that the da Vinci Xi generates metallic particles which may be left behind in surgery. The manufacturers did not recall the device or offer to repair it, however; Intuitive simply advised medical professionals not to use the particle-generating portion of the device for any cardiac surgeries.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a dangerous medical device, seek the money damages you need to pay for medical expenses and lost work, and to compensate for your pain and suffering. Contact Lexington medical malpractice attorney Stephen M. O’Brien for a consultation at 859-317-2056.