By JOHN CARREYRO
The da Vinci has been billed as a breakthrough in the quest to make surgery less invasive. With its four remote-controlled arms and sophisticated camera, it enables surgeons to operate through small incisions with greater precision and visibility.
At Wentworth-Douglass, however, the robot has been used in several surgeries where injuries occurred. One patient operated on days after the hockey game was so badly injured that she required four more procedures to repair the damage. In earlier robotic surgeries, two patients suffered lacerated bladders.
There’s no evidence to suggest the injuries at Wentworth-Douglass were caused by technical malfunctions. Surgeons who use the da Vinci regularly say the robot is technologically sound and an asset in the hands of well-trained doctors. But they caution that it requires considerable practice.