It is the scene out of the most popular science fiction movies – a robot performing surgery. In theory it makes perfect sense; robotic surgery addresses certain human weaknesses such as the surgeon’s hands starting to shake after hours on a delicate and stressful operation. But is robotic surgery safe? And is it worth the extra cost and training necessary for its successful use?
Currently, hundreds of thousands of surgeries are performed using robotic tools, and on the whole it is considered safe. However, as the frequency of robotic surgeries rises, so does the chances of complications. Since 2007 when the technique was first introduced to perform hysterectomies, there have been over 200 reported serious injuries of which 89 had resulted in death due to complications during and following robotic surgery.
It is speculated that the use of monopolar energy, which can cause damage from sparks produced, may be the cause of the burns to the bowels, ureter, intestines and other sites which represent the majority of injuries reported. The injuries may not present at once, sometimes taking days and requiring additional procedures to pinpoint and repair. Top robotic surgery tool manufacturer Intuitive Surgical maintain that with proper use, the da Vinci surgical robot is perfectly safe.
According to the website of Massachusetts law firm Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, the potential for injury may lie primarily on the amount of training and experience of doctors and medical staff has in the proper use of the technology. When a patient suffers injury due to the improper use of robotic surgical techniques, the doctor and hospital may be found to have breached their duty of care and be civilly liable for those injuries. If you or someone close to you came back from a routine procedure using robotic surgery with serious injuries, consult with a robotic surgery lawyer at once to explain to you your options.
Compensation for the cost of damages caused by a car accident in the US is often paid for by the car insurance provider of the driver at fault. This is usually accomplished when each of the parties concerned informs their respective insurance companies about the accident and the details so that fault can be assigned. The insurers will then determine who pays for what and how much. Depending on the coverage of the driver at fault and the extent of the injury, some car accident compensation for pain and suffering may be forthcoming. However, whether the offered settlement for pain and suffering is fair or not will depend on a lot of factors.
Insurers are always interested in getting away with paying as little as they can possibly get away with, so in most instances whatever the insurer initially offers for pain and suffering is probably going to be really small. Many people quickly accept the offered car accident compensation to settle the matter as soon as possible, thinking they are getting money for nothing. However, according to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C., they often don’t consider that there may be physical, psychological and emotional problems that will crop up later that will have a significant impact in their lives. This may entail additional and possibly long-term costs. After all, it is not called pain and suffering for nothing.
Unless a personal injury lawsuit is filed, insurers will generally try to dictate how much car accident compensation for pain and suffering will be. The at-fault driver’s coverage may have a natural cap for such payments, but insurers will seldom offer the maximum outright. Consulting a personal injury law firm can provide a good estimate of what might be reasonable car accident compensation for pain and suffering.
There is a statute under New Jersey state law that specifies the liability for dog bites (NJSA 4:19-16). Nevertheless, those who may be considering a dog bite personal injury lawsuit against the dog’s owner should know what the statute says.
New Jersey implements a strict liability rule for dog bites. The owner of a dog who attacks another person is liable for any damages even if there is no prior evidence that the dog is aggressive and prone to biting. The injured party only needs to prove that the defendant is indeed the owner of the animal, that the attack is the direct cause the injury, and that the plaintiff was in the vicinity of the animal legitimately or trespassing but without criminal intent.
The distinction of legitimacy is included in the conditions for proving liability because there are two circumstances in which the owner of the dog may be liable under the strict liability rule, but will not be required to pay damages for personal injury of the plaintiff. The first is when the plaintiff was in the vicinity of the animal as a trespasser with the intent to commit a crime i.e. robbery. If the plaintiff was trespassing but had no criminal intent i.e. wandered inadvertently onto the dog owner’s property then the exception does not apply and the owner will still be liable for damages.
The second exception to the dog bite law is when the plaintiff acted in a negligent manner which provoked the animal to attack. For example, if the plaintiff was throwing rocks at the dog, the plaintiff is considered partly responsible for the incident, and any damages awarded will be reduced by the percentage in which the plaintiff was responsible. An exception to this exception is when the injured party is below seven years of age.
Dog bites can lead to serious injury and even death, so owners have a responsibility to ensure the safety of those who have a legitimate reason to be in the vicinity of the animal. Failure to honor this responsibility can render the dog’s owner liable for considerable damages.
Medication errors may seem relatively harmless compared to surgical errors or misdiagnosis, but it has lead to serious injury for more than a million Americans every year. According to the website of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, it can even result in death. Medication errors include the wrong drug being dispensed, the wrong dosage, and conflicting drugs. These errors all sound preventable (because they are), and the key to minimizing medication errors is communication.
Many of the errors made in drug dispensing is due to lack of information. When a patient is first admitted for examination, an extensive medical history is taken because there are drugs that may seem to be the right ones for the condition but have adverse effects under specific circumstances. For example, for a patient complaining of muscle pain, one of the drugs that may be taken for relief is over-the-counter acetaminophen. But if that patient is already taking acetaminophen as part of a prescription drug, then the dosage may exceed safe levels and affect the liver adversely.
A more acute effect is when a patient is given medication that he or she is allergic to, but which either the patient failed to mention or did not know, or the nurse or doctor failed to check in the patient history. A good example is penicillin, to which 10% of the world’s population has an allergic reaction to. One of the protocols in hospitals is to take a skin test to determine if the patient has an allergy to particular medications that may be prescribed.
Health professionals have a duty of care to their patients, and must make every effort to prevent harm. Patients, on the other hand, must provide complete medical information inasmuch as they are aware of it. If there is adequate communication between healthcare professionals and between patients and healthcare providers, medication errors may be minimized.
If you have suffered adverse effects from medication errors caused by negligence or carelessness of a healthcare provider, then you may have recourse for compensation through the civil court. Confer with a medical malpractice lawyer in the area to find out your options.