In a case that could have broad repercussions throughout the medical industry, the first trial involving Intuitive Surgical Inc.'s robotic surgery system is wrapping up this week. The lawsuit could wind up forcing Intuitive Surgical to change its product to ensure that is safe enough for use in hospitals in California and around the nation.
A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group, Texas Health Resources and Harvard's schools of medicine and public health confirmed something medical malpractice attorneys see frequently: Hospitals can benefit from surgical errors and other medical errors.
In the past few years, robotics has made its way into our hospitals, claiming to be more exact than hands-on surgery. "At the console, [certain operations] can be performed effectively and precisely, translating to superior quality," one surgeon said about the da Vinci robot. But could they cause more harm than good?
It has been less than a week since state and federal officials announced the disturbing results of an inspection at an Oklahoma dental practice. The aftermath of this announcement should be a strong reminder to dentists in California and around the nation - patient safety requires careful sterilization practices.
With prescription painkillers like oxycodone more accessible than ever before, fatal overdoses cases are also on the rise. Doctors have a responsibility to help prevent overdoses by carefully controlling which patients have access to potentially addictive and deadly drugs. According to many observers, however, the medical community is not doing its part to protect patients.
In 2008, a physician consultant sent a note to Johnson & Johnson executives telling them to slow marketing on the DePuy ASR hip implant. The doctor wrote that the Articular Surface Replacement was poorly designed. He was not alone; other doctors also recommended that the company stall hip implant marketing efforts.
The chief medical officer for ESPN's X Games, Dr. David Chao, is under scrutiny by the Medical Board of California for his negligence in hip surgeries. According to the Board, the sports medicine doctor was grossly negligent in a 2007 hip surgery and was found negligent in three other surgeries. Furthermore, the doctor improperly maintained medical records, which could have led to additional patient injuries.
"The bitter fact is that there is no appetite in the medical community to come clean about every medical error." These are the words of the chief of pediatric cardiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Darshak Sanghavi.
The first of nearly 10,000 Depuy all-metal hip implant trials has made it to Los Angeles Court. The plaintiff in this first case contends that Johnson & Johnson's ASR XL hips had a defective design, Johnson & Johnson knew about the defects and it failed to timely warn consumers.
While medical mistakes are nothing new, a recent study reached some alarming conclusions about how doctors and hospital employees respond to them when they occur. Research from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that hospitals only notify affected patients in two percent of cases.