Florida Woman Dies After Surgical Robot Burns Hole in Intestine, Lawsuit Claims
A surgical robot has been accused of causing the death of a Florida woman after allegedly burning a hole in her small intestine during surgery. The incident led to a lawsuit filed by the woman's husband, according to legal documents obtained by TMZ.
Sandra Sultzer, a resident of Boca Raton, passed away at the age of 78 in 2022 following a procedure to treat her colon cancer. The surgery was performed using a 'da Vinci' robot, a cutting-edge machine operated by a doctor using a camera and joystick, while a surgeon controls the robot's arms via foot pedals.
The da Vinci robot is renowned for its ability to make small incisions, minimizing blood loss and trauma to the patient. However, according to the lawsuit, some of the rubber sleeves around the robot's arms had cracks that allowed electrical currents to escape. This led to stray energy burning Sultzer's body tissues during the September 2021 procedure.
The lawsuit further alleges that the surgical team was unaware of the burning taking place within Sandra's body. It argues that Intuitive Surgical Inc., the company responsible for manufacturing the da Vinci robot, failed to adequately warn of these risks, despite having knowledge of "thousands of injury and defect reports."
Sultzer's husband is seeking unspecified damages, including punitive damages, from the company, asserting that the product was neither designed safely nor sufficiently tested to mitigate the burn risks.