Following over four weeks of testimony, a jury in Phoenix awarded damages to the surviving family of Fred Taylor, an elderly diabetic who died after having been improperly operated on by his own urologist, Scott Bildsten. The jury’s decision marks a major victory for the plaintiffs in the case. However, the verdict could be applied to other medical malpractice cases. If you or someone you love has been a victim of medical malpractice and are seeking monetary compensation, you will need an experienced litigation lawyer to represent your case.
The plaintiffs in this particular lawsuit had sought damages for a host of different injuries, including but not limited to, brain damage, renal failure, spinal cord injuries, heart attack, stroke, and so on. The original case was brought by Robert C. Taylor, Jr., and Richard J. Taylor. The two men were employees of Precision A&R, LLC, a contractor that manufactured and sold the da Vinci device that allegedly caused the injury. The company was ultimately responsible for the accident. Precision A&R, LLC maintained that they designed the intuitive surgical system in compliance with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines, that they were unaware of the risks inherent in operating the da Vinci and that they were careful to follow all applicable regulations. Their defense was based on the fact that their general liability insurance covered the operation of their manufacturing facility.
Complicating matters were facts that would eventually come to the fore during the litigation. Internal organs of the patient that underwent surgery using the intuitive surgical system developed what are called post-operative symptoms. These symptoms manifested as developing infections in the internal organs of the patient, which later progressed into life-threatening complications. The manufacturers of the da Vinci robotic surgical system were aware of these complications from the very beginning, but failed to take measures to prevent them from evolving once the medical records were acquired and reviewed by counsel for the plaintiffs.
Other complications included internal bleeding, blood clots and gastrointestinal infections that developed after the surgery. Complaints also arose regarding the dangers of using the robot surgery system in surgeries involving burns and wounds. Burns and wounds require specialized medical attention and only an expert in robotic surgery can accomplish this type of surgery efficiently and safely. As a result, burns and wounds are often life threatening, and if these complications had been prevented the victims may well have survived.
As if this weren’t enough to raise a red flag, another reason the manufacturers of the Da Vinci robotic system were found liable in the lawsuit were the numerous reports of excessive burn cases arising from robot surgeries performed at Precision A&R. In one case, a female employee of Precision A&R sustained a severe burn in her hip in the process of being operated upon using the robotic A&R system. Despite numerous emergency medical personnel attending the scene and conducting medical treatment, the employee never regained physical competency. In yet another case, the company was sued after one of their surgical robots malfunctioned, resulting in the death of a woman while operating on another patient. Although no malpractice charges were filed in that instance, it clearly raises concerns about safety practices and the oversight of management in these types of lawsuits.
To add insult to injury, the manufacturer’s counsel and the plaintiffs’ lawyer engaged in a concerted campaign to suppress the plaintiffs’ accusations of wrongful and negligent conduct. By repeatedly asserting in court documents and in depositions that “facts” are irrelevant and “discredited” and “frivolous” witnesses and exhibits were called “inflammatory and demeaning” the defendants systematically avoided answering questions, denying liability and hindering recovery. Ultimately, the manufacturer’s counsel and the lawyers pursued tactics that chilled the witness and exhibits, destroying potentially valuable evidence and placing the plaintiffs in unnecessary risk and hardship. The manufacturer’s counsel further attempted to manipulate the courts and disregard their rights of recourse. These actions clearly violate patients’ and driver’s rights and put the health and wellbeing of real patients at risk.