ProAssurance Risk Resource professionals publish a KeyConsiderations for Healthcare Organizations newsletter annually. We mailed the Robotic-Assisted Surgery issue to ProAssurance hospital and large facility policyholders September 18.
“An active 67-year-old retiree entered the hospital for what he thought would be a routine prostatectomy. The urologist recommended robotic-assisted surgery (RAS), and the patient and his spouse agreed to proceed. The patient did not know this would be the surgeon’s first independent robotic surgery. The planned five-hour RAS evolved into a 13-hour open surgery. The patient experienced a succession of complications including kidney failure, sepsis, stroke, cognitive deficits, a torn rectum, and blood loss requiring several transfusions. He experienced permanent incontinence, required a colostomy, and was debilitated until he succumbed to heart disease four years later.
Experts testified at trial that “confidence” with the device is not achieved until a surgeon has completed 150 to 250 procedures. Prior to performing this procedure, the surgeon had participated in only two proctored robotic prostatectomies—before the hospital granted the surgeon the privilege to independently perform RAS.”