Intuitive Surgical Inc., manufacturer of the embattled da Vinci Surgical System, has announced a revenue forecast, predicting a decline in the fourth quarter of 2013 of about 5 percent, but an overall rise in revenue for fiscal year 2013 of about 4 percent from the previous year, according to NASDAQ.com. Intuitive forecast preliminary fourth-quarter da Vinci Surgical Systems revenue to decrease about 23 percent, to approximately $205 million from $265 million, according to the report.
Late in 2013, the FDA announced that Intuitive Surgical had notified its customers of a problem involving the da Vinci System’s stalling during surgical procedures, causing some problematic malfunctioning, according to a Dec. 4 Bloomberg story. Friction in one of the device’s arms would cause the tools to stall, the story said. In the first ten months of 2013, the FDA received nearly 4,000 adverse event reports, ranging from claims of injury to death, according to a Nov. 11 Businessweek article.
“If Intuitive’s revenues are being affected by declining sales, and sales are declining because of reports that the da Vinci System is malfunctioning, then both the producer and patients are being hurt by the product,” said Rochelle Rottenstein, principal of the Rottenstein Law Group LLP, which represents clients in da Vinci surgical robot lawsuits.
The da Vinci surgical robot system typically features four mechanical arms with precision surgical tools and a camera, designed to allow a surgeon to perform procedures such as prostate removals and hysterectomies less invasively than in the past. However, the robot system has been found to cause potentially dangerous side effects, such as internal burns, nerve damage and lacerations, according to Bloomberg.