There is no doubt that new medical devices and machines can help doctors provide better treatment to their patients. However, when they do not receive the requisite training to operate these advanced apparatuses, accidents may ensue. Such was the case when Dr. Daniel H. Laury, formerly of Medford, Oregon, removed the ovary of his former patient, Michelle Elsey.
The 2007 surgery was performed with the help of a da Vinci robotic surgery system, which reportedly malfunctioned during the operation. After her ovary was removed, the machine left a piece of plastic inside the patient’s body. Detected three years later during a CT scan, the foreign object had to be removed
In a recent lawsuit, Mrs. Elsey was awarded $10,500 in medical expenses to cover the subsequent surgeries that were required to remove the extraneous materials from her body. The jury also awarded her $100,000 in compensatory damages for the pain and suffering she experienced in the years after the surgery. Because Dr. Laury was clearly negligent, the damages will be covered by malpractice insurance.
This was not the first case where a da Vinci robot system allegedly malfunctioned. According to the Food and Drug Administration, there were nearly 4,000 adverse reports this year!