Like in many facets of life, technology has been incorporated to ensure that we have an easier time completing tasks and producing more without the prospect of human error marring what we develop. For as much as technology has become a part of major surgeries, complications can still occur if a physician operator makes mistakes. In these instances, should a medical device maker be held liable?
The question has brought up difficult questions when it comes to credentialing doctors who use such technology. After all, hospitals generally bear the burden of ensuring that doctors are properly trained on devices they use to complete surgeries, and the credentialing process may not be sufficient to keep up with changing technology.
Such was the case in a medical malpractice claim against surgical device maker Intuitive Surgical, which makes the di Vinci device that helps surgeons make precise movements. In a 2013 medical malpractice suit, a patient harmed during a bariatric surgery sued the physician, the hospital and the device maker for damages. While the surgeon and hospital settled their respective claims out of court, Intuitive did not; ostensibly claiming that it was not liable. A district court judge agreed and tossed out the claims against the device maker.
The case is on appeal, but the problem with credentialing still remains. Hospitals are in a tough spot with being responsible for credentialing, but they also want to solicit business and develop positive reputations with regard to complicated surgeries. It also begs the question of whether credentialing processes will be changed.