Medicolegal Issues in Robotic Surgery

  • Elizabeth M. Hechenbleikner
  • Brian P. Jacob


The da Vinci® Surgical System is designed to improve minimally invasive surgeries by providing surgeons with enhanced precision and visualization and by enabling procedures that were otherwise considered too challenging without a robotic instrument. When expertly performed, these robotic minimally invasive procedures can help provide patients optimized recoveries when compared to traditional open surgeries. Robotic surgery, specifically with devices like the da Vinci® Surgical System, has seen rapid expansion and growth since the early 2000s. However, as the frequency of robotic procedures grows, so do complaints of system malfunctions and reports of patient injuries that may lead to lawsuits against stakeholders which include the device manufacturer, the hospital or institutions and their staff, as well as the surgeons and their associates. Each of these stakeholders involved in robotic surgery is responsible to uphold the highest level of training and care available to help a patient achieve a good outcome. This chapter aims to provide an overview of these stakeholder responsibilities, as well as to attempt to differentiate what each stakeholder is and is not responsible for when it comes to a legal complaint.


Robotic surgery Adverse events MAUDE database Device malfunctions Operator errors Product liability Medical malpractice 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth M. Hechenbleikner
    • 1
    • 2
  • Brian P. Jacob
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of General SurgeryMount Sinai HospitalNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of General Surgery, Garlock Division of SurgeryMount Sinai HospitalNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Laparoscopic Surgical Center of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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