people killed by drones in Pakistan as
evidence that UAVs should not be
used in the Middle East war.
Were these believed innocent
people killed because the UAVs were
defective? Were they killed because
the remote operators were not
sufficiently trained in the operation of
the vehicle? Was the operator just too
anxious to use his weapons and
disregarded sensibility? Did the on-the-ground laser targeting individual place
the laser beam on the wrong vehicle,
person, or building? Who knows. War
is terrible, and bad things happen.
The same applies to civilian use of
a UAV. Humans with less than
honorable intentions can violate
basic rights. Is this the fault of
the robot manufacturers?
(reopening of the incision made
to remove the uterus and cervix
during a hysterectomy).
• Additional surgical procedures
following a robot surgery.
• Wrongful death.
I might be the wrong person to
talk about surgeries with
unsatisfactory results that were
performed by the da Vinci surgical
robot (see Figure 6). I personally
underwent a successful prostate
surgery via the da Vinci surgical robot,
so I truly understand what is involved.
As a prospective patient, I was
be the fault of the surgeon using the
da Vinci to perform the surgery? Did
the robot malfunction or was it poorly
designed? Was the surgeon poorly
trained? Did the surgeon have a ‘God
complex’ and felt he or she was
infallible so ignored safe surgical
I’d like to thank Tom Green, Editor
in Chief of Robotics Business
review.com) and author,
Emmet Cole who writes the biweekly column, Robots and
Though geared for the
manufacturer and researcher,
Robotics Business Review is a
treasure trove of up-to-date
information about the robotics
field. It’s not cheap, but I feel
it’s worth it for the
information it provides.
As Tom Green stated, the
purpose of robots is “to help,
not harm.” It seems that most
legal implications with robots
are the possibility of harming or killing
a human through its actions, or by
violating a human’s rights through
unethical operations by a human
Of course, the practice of law is
extremely complicated, and a short
article like this one just scratches the
surface of possible issues. Readers of
this article might assume I am ‘pro’
drone, pro da Vinci surgical robot, or
pro any robot, no matter what.
I am ‘pro’ any well designed and
proven product, whether it’s a
sophisticated robot or that ‘better
mousetrap’ that always seems to be
the goal of any inventor. I am certainly
in favor of the many advances in the
field and science of robotics. The
people in robotics that I know
personally hold firmly to ethical and
moral values. SV
Da Vinci Surgical
Let’s steer away from flying
and driving robots, and look at
medical robots that are currently
under scrutiny in several recent
lawsuits; one in particular has
been filed by the law firm,
Alonso Krangle LLP. Plaintiffs
have reported many alleged side
effects (up to and including
death) after undergoing
surgeries with the Intuitive Surgical
da Vinci surgical robot. The following
list (taken from the Alonso Krangle
website) shows some of the alleged
injuries suffered after a da Vinci
FIGURE 6. Intuitive Surgical da Vinci surgical robot.
• Surgical burns to arteries or
• Peritonitis (painful and tender
inflammation of the lining of
• Excessive bleeding.
• Burning of nearby organs,
including the intestines.
• Punctured blood vessels, organs,
• Burns and/or tears of the
• Severe bowel injuries.
• Punctured or cut ureters.
• Vaginal cuff dehiscence
interviewed by both my surgeon and
anesthesiologist as to the potential
problems and possible side effects that
could occur during and after surgery.
SERVO 06.2013 81