Are Robot Doctors Safe?
Advances in technology have radically changed the way doctors diagnose and treat patients. This allows patients to live healthier and longer lives, but new technology does bring some new risks. A robot in China recently performed a successful surgery by itself, leading many to wonder whether robot surgeons are the future of medicine, or a medical disaster waiting to happen.
During a procedure that took about an hour, a robot surgeon performed a dental implant surgery completely unassisted by humans. The surgery was considered a success and the implants were fitted within a margin or error of 0.2-0.3 millimeters, which is considered well within the appropriate medical standard for this type of procedure.
While this procedure took place in China, patients in the United States could see robots in operating rooms very soon. In March 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a robot designed for assisting in dental surgeries. The device, called YOMI, is manufactured by Neocis Precision Healthcare Robotics and aims to make certain dental implant procedures more precise.
Dental surgeons can provide YOMI with CT scans and other medical data YOMI can use to plan the procedure. YOMI can calculate the exact location, angle, and depth for the implant.
Although YOMI can help improve outcomes and reduce errors for dental patients, giving robots more complex tasks could prove to have serious consequences for patients. For patients undergoing riskier procedures like open-heart surgery or brain surgery, a number of things could happen that could immediately change a patient’s condition. Would a robot surgeon be able to react to sudden, life-threatening changes?
In many instances, surgeons have to change their plans during a procedure to adapt to unanticipated conditions or obstacles. This may seem like an easy thing to do, but programming a robot to think like a human is actually very difficult and there is no room for error.
Who’s At Fault After A Medical Mistake?
Reducing medical mistakes should be a top priority for any hospital or healthcare facility. Robots like YOMI are certainly a step in the right direction, but there should always be protocols in place in case something goes wrong. Unfortunately, many hospitals and doctors are not as careful as they should be when it comes to preventing medical mistakes. Whether it’s a diagnostic error or surgical mistake, lapses in judgment or flat out negligence can have fatal consequences for patients.
Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Many patients who have suffered injuries as the result of a medical mistake are afraid to speak out against a doctor or hospital, but the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Lopez McHugh LLP can help. We can review your medical files and help hold negligent doctors and hospitals responsible. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.