The father of his deceased 24 year old daughter has commenced a lawsuit in New York against Intuitive Surgery, Inc., the maker of the da Vinci surgical robot, alleging that the device caused her death.

In his complaint, filed by the firm of Rheingold, Valet, Rheingold, McCartney & Giuffra LLP of New York City, Gilmore McCalla asserts that when his daughter was having a hysterectomy in a Bronx hospital in August 2010, the robot caused burns to an artery and her intestines, which led to her death two weeks later.

The complaint alleges design flaws in the da Vinci robot, including un-insulated surgical arms and use of electrical current which can jump to healthy internal organs and tissue. It also alleges that physicians are not properly trained on the device, and that Intuitive Surgery has failed to run randomized tests as to complications with its robot.

The McCalla complaint, filed in the federal court in New York City on April 4, 2012, 12civ2597, also asserts that the manufacturer has suppressed reports of complications, and has oversold the merits of its da Vinci robot to hospitals considering buying it. The machine costs of upwards of $2 million to purchase and then has a sizeable annual maintenance cost.

McCalla is also asserting, in separate litigation, that the surgeon operating the robot and the hospital where the procedure was being done were careless, in part in not discovering the damage done by the robot.

The da Vinci robot is operated remotely from a console by a surgeon. Several arms are placed into the patient, for burning away tissue in order to remove the diseased organ, and also for a camera.

Numerous complications have been reported in medical journals with the use of the da Vinci robot in various types of surgery, not only hysterectomies as in the McCalla case but also other gynecologic surgery, and prostate surgery. The common types of injuries are tears and burns, to blood vessels, intestines, uterus and vaginal cuff dehiscence. Often these injuries are delayed in their appearance after the actual surgery...