Many patients would be shocked to know that hospital advertising may not always be based in fact. Numerous studies have concluded that most Americans assume information offered on a hospital’s website represents the opinion of the doctors in the hospital, and that the material is backed by sound scientific evidence. The truth is that hospital websites and other forms of advertising are merely promotional materials and are not held to standards regarding medical efficacy. This fact has become particularly clear in the case of da Vinci robots, which are widely advertised on hospital websites utilizing information that is not grounded in scientific research. A recent surge of da Vinci robot surgery lawsuits have allege that much of the information available to consumers through hospitals about the procedure was actually produced by the manufacturer.
Intuitive Surgical has engaged in a very successful, and many say aggressive, marketing campaign in order to sell da Vinci surgery systems to hospitals throughout the world. Marketing materials describe the procedure as the best and latest technological advance and promise a range of benefits over other types of surgery. Not only have these assertions been made by the company in its marketing to hospital buying boards, but they are central to the marketing materials the company provides for use by the hospitals. However, numerous studies, including those completed by very respected medical groups such as the New England Journal of Medicine, point out that there is so scientific data behind the claims. In short, patients are reading information on hospitals’ websites that was devised by marketing experts working on behalf of Intuitive Surgical. Presented as fact, these statements are not backed by any scientific data and are considered misleading or false.
In fact, some doctors assert that da Vinci robotic surgery actually has disadvantages and can be very dangerous for patients. Da Vinci robotic surgery lawsuits have been filed on behalf of patients who were harmed or killed as a result of internal injuries sustained during da Vinci surgery. The FDA has collected thousands of voluntary reports documenting adverse effects of robotic surgery. Severe injuries caused by the robot include tears, punctures and other damage to internal organs and tissues. Some injuries have resulted in the need for multiple repair surgeries, while others have led to the tragic and untimely death of the patient. Instead of operating directly on the patient, the surgeon works remotely with joysticks and controls. Many expert surgeons speculate that a majority of people conducting robot surgery actually don’t have the proficiency to use the device safely.
Most patients not only believe the da Vinci surgical robot offers better outcomes for surgery, but they believe their surgeon has a certain degree of training and competence before performing the procedure on live subjects. Attracted by the false marketing claims and glitzy advertisements, consumers flock to hospitals that offer the procedure. Legal experts say it may only be the threat of a large volume of da Vinci robot surgery lawsuit cases that gets the company to take action to make the product safely or to adequately warn the public of the risks associated with the procedure.