Was it really a wrongful death case?
This is one of those moments when I really don’t know how to feel about a jury verdict. Obviously, as a Dallas personal injury attorney it’s my job to figure out first whether or not a client has a case to begin with and then take it to the next levels based on evidence.
At the heart of this case is a man who opted for prostate surgery using a minimally-invasive method that involved a Da Vinci surgical robot manufactured by Intuitive? The patient, Fred Taylor, didn’t die on the operating table. He died several years later of complications that were linked to the surgery. The major issues in the case were:
a) Mr. Taylor was obese. When you’re overweight there is nothing about surgery that’s simple. Ask any anesthesiologist who ever had to insert a breathing tube into an overweight patient. That’s just a standard procedure and even that can be a problem if the patient is obese. Getting into the intricacies of the procedure can be even more challenging. Part of the complaint stemmed from not just the doctor’s inexperience with the Da Vinci machine, but also in using it on obese patients.
b) This was the doctor’s first unassisted procedure using the Da Vinci machine. His limited experience coupled with the aforementioned complications might have impaired his ability to perform the procedure correctly.
c) There were questions about the training the doctor received for using the Da Vinci machine. Of course, the first two items were fact. This one is purely subjective and conveys nothing more than an opinion. It’s these kinds of details that personal injury attorneys devote the most time to researching. Building a case on them can be difficult but this one definitely had a solid foundation with the other two pieces.
Jury’s sided Intuitive over the plaintiff’s wrongful death case
In the end the jury sided with Intuitive. The trial went on for five weeks and at the end, the plaintiffs failed to prove their case in the eyes of the jury. They heard testimony from both sides and determined that the training wasn’t the issue. Unfortunately, since the plaintiff’s cases were rooted on that, it was shaky.
So here are today’s questions:
- If they had focused more on the previous two details do you think the plaintiffs would have gotten further in their lawsuit?
- Would they have gotten further simply suing the doctor instead of Intuitive?
- Do you agree that Intuitive was never negligent?
- What about the doctor – what degree of responsibility should he have to assume?
In your opinion, do you think Intuitive Surgical is really the reason for Mr.Taylor’s wrongful death?