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Concern expressed over robot surgical errors

The effects that a patient suffers from when surgical errors are made can be quite severe. Some patients experience complications such as infections or a worsened condition while others must deal with additional surgeries, unsightly scarring or even permanent damage to limbs and organs. When a routine surgery takes a turn for the worse in a Providence hospital, it can take patients months or even years to fully recover, if they recover at all.

Surgeons are hoping to decrease the number of errors being made by having a robot surgeon take on more intricate operations. While there is a great deal of benefits associated with robot surgery, there is also concern being expressed that the robot is imperfect. In fact, one research paper author says that more mistakes are made by these mechanical surgeons than people know. He did not give further information but have been 500 problems reported in connection to the robot since the beginning of 2012.

One argument by the company who builds and sells the robot, which is the only one of its kind, is that because the robot is now being used by more hospitals than before, the number of errors reported is bound to rise. However, there have been deaths linked to the robot surgeon and this has given the Food and Drug Administration reason for being concerned.

Since the robot is controlled by human surgeons, it seems that the chances of making a surgeon mistake are not entirely eliminated. It is also important to remember that while a robot may conduct the actual surgery, surgical staff can still act in a way that can put the patient at risk. If a patient is injured in a surgical procedure, they may find it helpful to speak with an attorney.

Source: abc 6, "Robot hot among surgeons but FDA taking fresh look," Lindsey Tanner, April 9, 2013

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