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Weighing the Benefits and Risks of AI Surgical Decisions

The novel coronavirus has recently been ranked as the third leading cause of death in the United States. Not too far behind is preventable medical errors, according to a John Hopkins study.

Roughly 26 percent of all deaths caused by preventable medical errors are linked to surgical errors. Many of these errors occur in colectomies, hysterectomies, and gastrectomies.

Technology developers are looking to prevent surgical errors with robots that are touted to perform fully automated surgeries. The reality of this technology being implemented in hospitals is still rather far-fetched.

That doesn't necessarily mean that similar technology hasn't already made its way into some hospitals as a means of assisting human decisions.

Surgical decision-making can "lead to bias, error, and preventable harm. Surgical decision-making is often based in hypothetical-deductive reasoning, individual judgment, and heuristics," according to JAMA Surgery.

The paper's authors believe that artificial intelligence (AI) can help with accurate surgical decision-making. Some AI surgical technology has already entered the medical market in the United States.

"With nearly 400,000 deaths in the U.S. every year due to avoidable medical errors, our surgical intelligence platform is designed to dramatically improve outcomes, safety and accessibility by arming surgeons with real-time information to make better informed decisions," said Todd Usen, CEO of surgical technology company Activ Surgical. "We look forward to empowering global access to best-in-class surgery, regardless of location, saving millions of lives in the process."

Weighing the benefits with the risks

An average of over 250,000 people die due to medical errors each year across the United States, according to John Hopkins. Automated technology may provide some benefits to healthcare professionals. Like most technology, it's not foolproof.

Previous statistics showed that robotic surgeries have resulted in 144 preventable deaths and 1,391 injuries across the U.S. from January 2000 - December 2013. Roughly 1.7 million robotic procedures were conducted during that period.

Syracuse attorney serving victims of surgical errors

If you sustained an injury or lost a loved one due to a surgical error, get an experienced legal advocate on your side. One who can investigate, hold negligent parties accountable, and help you get the compensation you need.

Cherundolo Law Firm PLLC has handled medical malpractice claims in Syracuse and throughout central New York since 2013. We have a proven track record of successfully advocating for clients, including legal action taken against:

  • A neurosurgeon following the misdiagnosis of a client's pain
  • A plastic surgeon after an improperly performed breast augmentation
  • An orthopedic surgeon and a hospital after a surgeon caused neurological injuries through improperly placed hardware instrumentation during a surgical procedure

To find out how we can help you with your medical malpractice claim, contact us online and schedule your free legal consultation.