Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gremlins in the wiring

I just saw that the company that makes most of the surgical robots is being sued when one of the robots stopped working and the surgeon had to convert to an open case. First, I was surprised that this was a lawsuit because it is commonplace to have consent to convert to open if necessary but anyway, the suit is claiming damages because the robot broke. Like many surgical tools, the robots are designed to shut down before anything bad can happen, apparently they are supposed to be indestructible and never fail. I hate to say it, but stuff breaks. Sometimes it is the new stuff, sometimes it is the old. I have had a harmonic generator basically melt down, microscope bulbs blow, drills chew their bearings out, tourniquets explode, anesthesia machines fault out, lasers just become possessed. You don't want to know about what the perfusionists have to deal with. The point is, things break, Gremlins get into the wiring. This is the risk of surgery. That is why in addition to using all the high tech stuff, we learn to use our hands, scalpels and silk ties.


SeaSpray said...

Thank God you do. reminds me of the surgeon operating on a patient in the middle of that awful tornado. It came down to HIS skill amidst the storm. And other brave OR staff assisting.

I would think that is a winnable case. ? Just as you said ...signing consent. Also ...what does not break down today? And they also must come with their own warnings, etc.

Anyway about stress under fire. Those cases must get the adrenalin going.

Admittedly, I don't understand the consequences of all that ...but the anesthesia machines faulting out ...what happens to the patient. At least with the other they are sleeping ...but then I guess you can live if anesthesia goes off. I am going to have to look up harmonic generator and perfusionist. :)

SeaSpray said...

I googled harmonic generator and found this:

and thought he plays that? Then I thought you were being facetious. Then I added "medical" into the search.

This inquiring mind is satisfied now. :)