US cancer patient dies after surgical robot burns holes in organs, lawsuit filed

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New Delhi: A lawsuit has been filed against Intuitive Surgical by Harvey Sultzer, alleging that the company’s surgical robot caused severe harm to his wife, Sandra Sultzer, leading to her death. The incident, reported by the New York Post, occurred during a procedure to address her colon cancer at Baptist Health Boca Raton Regional Hospital in September 2021. According to the complaint filed on February 6, 2024, Sandra Sultzer suffered organ damage due to the da Vinci robot, resulting in her demise in February 2022.

The lawsuit asserts that Intuitive Surgical was aware of insulation issues with the robot that could harm internal organs but failed to disclose this information to the family. It further alleges that the company underreported thousands of incidents of injuries and defects associated with the robot to the Food and Drug Administration. Additionally, the complaint claims that Intuitive Surgical inadequately trains doctors on operating the da Vinci system and sells it to hospitals lacking experience in robotic surgery.

The da Vinci system, introduced by Intuitive Surgical in 1999 and FDA-approved in 2000, has faced criticism for various flaws over the years. Harvey Sultzer seeks damages exceeding USD 75,000, citing negligence, product liability (including design defect and failure to warn), loss of consortium, and punitive damages.

14-year old dies of blood cancer

In another incident, fourteen-year-old Fayza Ansari died of blood cancer after being denied treatment at Delhi hospitals due to alleged shortages of beds, medicines, and equipment. Her family’s desperate pleas for help were met with rejection until her deteriorating condition was recorded, prompting intervention.

Despite efforts from authorities, including a high-level inquiry, and media attention, Fayza’s treatment was only arranged after her death. Shortages of essential medicines and staff further exacerbated the situation. The incident highlights systemic issues in healthcare accessibility, particularly for economically weaker sections. Legal interventions are often necessary for marginalized families to receive the care they desperately need.

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