Robotic surgery in the United States became available to the public more than 20 years ago, in 1992, when a 64-year-old man had his hip successfully replace with the help of a machine called Robodoc.
However, it wasn’t until 2000 that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved use of the da Vinci robotic system for a large group of minimally invasive procedures. This is when robotic surgery really started gaining popularity.
Over the last 10 years, nearly 2,000 surgical robots have been sold in the United States and the number of robotic procedures for everything from head and neck surgery to hysterectomies has soared by 30 percent each year. It seems that this soaring in popularity has been due to aggressive marketing tactics playing up the robot’s “wow” factor rather than a solid track record of safety and effectiveness.
Billboards and television commercials have cracked up these robotic systems to be more high-tech and cutting edge than they really are, safety experts say. However, what we have learned from several sources including the FDA is that these robots may not be living up to their promise. Researchers at Johns Hopkins say that while some people may benefit from robotic surgery, it may actually end up hurting others.
Making the Right Decision
So how do you determine if robotic surgery is right for you? Here are a few tips:
• Do not believe everything you see or hear. Ignore the hype. According to a 2011 Johns Hopkins study, hospital websites often cite studies comparing robotic surgery with open surgery instead of with minimally invasive procedures. Many claims with regard to safety and effectiveness can also be misleading.
• Carefully consider your options. Think twice about going in for robotic surgery for routine procedures such as hernia surgery, appendix removal or gallbladder removal. However, you may want to consider it for complex surgeries such as cancer surgery, head and neck tumors and other procedures where there is no minimally invasive option.
• It is important to ask questions before you go in for surgery. Some patients are not even informed that a robot will be used. If you are scheduled for surgery, ask questions about what procedures will be used.
• Make sure that you select the right doctor if you are going in for robotic surgery. Find out about his or her experience, number of procedures performed using a robot and his or her success rate.
• Talk to others you know who may have had the surgery or visit support groups.
It is important that all patients have the facts they need to make informed choices about their health. It is important for consumers to weigh all the positives and negatives of robotic surgery. There’s been recent talk of medical malpractice cases looming over the robotic surgery tool and it’s still early to determine if there will be legal cases surrounding robotic surgery and it’s level of safety.
Toyota Motor Corp. is recalling more than 780,000 RAV4 and Lexus HS250h vehicles for the second time after a problem with the suspension that was not properly fixed the first time. According to a Reuters news report, the SUVs and luxury sedans were initially recalled in August 2012 for rear tie rods, a suspension component, that could fail and cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles. The Japanese automaker found out that some dealer mechanics did not correctly perform the repairs.
Automaker Finds Fixes Inadequate
Toyota apparently got reports from dealers that some vehicles experienced symptoms of the recalled condition even after being inspected or repaired. After an investigation Toyota determined that some inspections were not sufficient and that portions of the repair procedure may not have been performed correctly. …Read the rest »
Ford is issuing a product defect recall for 355,000 sedans for corrosion issues that could lead to loss of steering. According to a report in The Car Connection, a notice on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) web site says that the vehicles involved in the recall are certain 2005 to 2011 Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car sedans. The recalled vehicles include Crown Victoria Police Interceptor units. Affected vehicles are currently registered or were originally sold in 22 states. However, these vehicles may be sold in other states as well. …Read the rest »
Toyota announced two separate auto defect recalls to address stalling issues. According to a CNN news report, the recalls cover a total of 369,000 Toyota vehicles worldwide including 235,000 in the United States. The larger recall includes Highlander Hybrid models produced between 2006 and 2010 and Lexus RX 400h vehicles made from 2006 to 2008. In those SUVs, the transistors in the hybrid system can overheat, triggering a warning that in some cases can result in the vehicle unexpectedly stopping while in operation.
The second recall includes Lexus IS 350, IS 350C and GS 350 vehicles made between 2006 and 2011. These vehicles can also unexpectedly stop while on the road due to bolts in the variable valve timing control device coming loose. When the recall starts, owners of vehicles covered in this recall will be notified via mail.
These safety defect recalls are yet another blow to Toyota’s reputation for quality and reliability. In June, Toyota announced that it was recalling nearly a quarter of a million Prius and Lexus hybrids because of a braking problem. Also, last October, the company announced a recall of 7.43 million cars due to a power window problem that posed a fire hazard. In April, the Japanese automaker recalled about 1.7 million cars due to airbag defects. Toyota’s largest and most-publicized recall came in 2009 and 2010 when more than 8 million units were recalled for sticky gas pedals and faulty floor mats that could cause sudden or unintended acceleration.
Auto Product Liability Issues
Defective parts in vehicles can be extremely dangerous because they increase the risk of a crash and serious injury or even death. In this particular case, both recalls involve vehicles that could suddenly and unexpectedly come to a stop when the vehicle is in motion. This could result in a collision.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a defective auto, it would be in your best interests to contact an experienced auto product liability lawyer who can independently investigate the issue and ensure that the negligent manufacturers are held liable. It is crucial that you preserve the vehicle so it can be examined thoroughly by an expert for any evidence of malfunctions and flaws. The best auto defect law firms will always offer a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation to injured victims and their families.
Far East Brokers, a Florida-based company, has issued a product defect recall for its ladybug-themed kids’ outdoor furniture due to violation of U.S. lead paint standards. According to a safety alert issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the red surface paint on the furniture contains excessive levels of lead, which is a violation of the federal lead paint standard. The products were manufactured in China and were sold nationwide through wholesale distributors, grocery and drug stores from January to May for between $10 and $50.
The recall involves red ladybug-themed kids’ metal-framed outdoor furniture sold under the Leisure Way brand. The 14,000 items covered under this recall have large ladybug images on the fabric and include camp chairs, folding chairs, moon chairs, double-seat swing chairs and a patio set that includes two chairs, a table and an umbrella. Anyone who owns these products is asked to take the furniture away from children and return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. For more information, please contact the manufacturer at 1-888-753-9040 or visit www.fareastbrokers.com. …Read the rest »
Nissan is issuing a vehicle safety recall for nearly 13,000 Versa Note subcompact hatchbacks because of problems with loose bolts in the back of the vehicle. According to a Detroit News report, the recall affects cars from the 2014 model year that were built in Mexico before July 5 and distributed mainly in North America. Nissan says the bolts that hold the rear seat back latches may not be strong enough, which could increase the risk of injury for backseat passengers in the crash.
The other bolts that secure the body to the undercarriage may not have been tightened enough or could be missing in rare cases. This could weaken the car’s rear crash performance. Nissan officials say no crashes or injuries have been reported as a result of these defective vehicles. When the recall begins in mid-August, dealers will check the bolts and fix or replace them at no cost. …Read the rest »