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Robot surgeries have changed the face of medicine, allowing patients to undergo quicker and less invasive operations.

However, worrying questions remain about these surgeries after some patients alleged they sustained serious injuries like burns. Robotic surgeries are even linked to deaths.

Many of the patients brought lawsuits over the da Vinci surgical robot, a device approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2000.

At the Smith Law Center, our attorneys have years of experience in complicated product liability cases as well as hospital negligence lawsuits.

What is the Da Vinci Robot?

The da Vinci robot offers the promise of minimally invasive surgery. This means patients recover more quickly from operations. The robots allow surgeons to perform operations by making a few small incisions in the patient. Silicon Valley’s Intuitive Surgical manufactures the da Vinci robot.

Surgeons operate the system via foot pedals, joysticks, and a 3-D viewer.  The da Vinci robot has a monitor that lets surgeons see inside patients, and a steady robotic arm allowing for more precision. Surgeries using the da Vinci robot are associated with faster recovery times for the patient.

What are the Risks of the Da Vinci Robot?

While the da Vinci robot appears to deliver minimally invasive surgery, some people who underwent operations claimed it left them injured.

NBC News highlighted the case of Laurie Featherstone from Iowa in 2018. Featherstone said before she was due to have a hysterectomy in March 2015 her doctor asked her if she would consider having a robot conduct the procedure.

Featherstone said she wanted the operation because of fibroids in her uterus. Complications emerged a few weeks after the procedure involving the Da Vinci robot.

The woman experienced excess fluids in her kidneys. She suffered an ailment called hydronephrosis. One of her ureters was damaged. The doctors said the robotic hysterectomy caused the injury.

The procedure burned Featherstone’s ureter and damaged her colon. Doctors said she required a permanent colostomy.

Featherstone filed a lawsuit but withdrew it when she ran up against her state’s Statute of Limitations.

This was not an isolated incident. NBC analyzed adverse effects associated with robotic surgery.  A U.S. Food and Drug Administration study revealed robotic surgeries caused 20,000 adverse events. Most of them were filed by Intuitive Surgical, the maker of the da Vinci robot.

Despite the findings, more and more women use the Da Vinci robot for hysterectomies and more hospitals are adopting robotic technologies.

As well as hysterectomies, surgeons use robotic systems to perform other surgeries including urology procedures, heart surgeries, and urology procedures.

NBC News reported an increase in the number of surgeries using da Vinci robots by 52 percent since 2013. Surgeries rose to nearly 700,000 procedures in 2017.

Over 2,000 adverse events involved injuries and 274 were categorized as deaths, the report revealed.

What Are the Most Common Injuries Associated with the Da Vinci Robot?

Lawsuits brought against Intuitive Surgical claim the following injuries and complications:

  • Burns to organs;
  • Punctures or cut ureters;
  • Perforations or tears to organs;
  • Injuries to the bowel or the bladder.

Surgeon inexperience appears to be another factor in da Vinci robot injuries.  Using the new robotic system requires a surgeon to become comfortable with new controls. Some lawsuits claimed surgeons received insufficient training for the robotic systems.

Device malfunction has also been cited in lawsuits.  Some injuries were linked to the da Vinci EndoWrist Monopolar Curved Scissors. Invisible cracks in the device caused internal burns to the patient. This accessory was later withdrawn from the market.

Lawsuits against Intuitive claim that the da Vinci robot suffered from design defects. Other lawsuits alleged medical malpractice. While some injures are linked to alleged da Vinci design defects or manufacturing defects injuries may have been caused by doctors who failed to use the equipment properly or received inadequate training to use this complicated robot.

Contact a Virginia Injury Lawyer if You Were Injured by Robotic Surgery

Increasing numbers of hospitals in Virginia and elsewhere use robot surgery for procedures. However, the large number of reported injuries suggests a range of problems with the new technology. Robotic surgery is linked to hundreds of injuries and some deaths.

If you or a family member has been injured during robot surgery, please call our trial lawyers today at (757) 244-7000.

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If you or a relative had a severe reaction to military housing mold, it might be time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Mold is everywhere, and can be dangerous. Researchers have linked mold to serious respiratory illnesses in some individuals.

Smith Law Center may be able to help if a property owner failed to keep you safe from mold in your military housing. We are one of Virginia’s oldest and most successful firms. We know how to hold negligent property owners responsible, especially when the military is involved.

Call us at (757) 244-700 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. There’s no fee for learning more about Virginia mold laws, your rights, and your legal options.

Mold in Military Housing

Black mold in military housing became widely known when Reuters published an investigation in 2018. Since then, the Department of Defense and the housing providers were supposed to take steps to improve the situation.

Unfortunately, a 2020 audit by the DoD Office of Inspector General found many issues, including the need for mold remediation, still persist.

Monetary Awards in Military Housing Toxic Mold Cases

If the property owner lets toxic mold run wild and continue to cause you harm, talk with our toxic mold attorneys about filing a lawsuit.

You may receive financial compensation for:

Service members and their families do not receive different types of damages than civilians. These are civil lawsuits in traditional courts of law.

Military Housing Mold Toxicity Symptoms

The Institute of Medicine discovered there was evidence connecting exposure to indoor mold with:

  • Upper respiratory tract symptoms;
  • Coughing;
  • Wheezing;
  • Asthma symptoms in individuals with asthma; and
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals with weak immune systems.

There is also limited evidence that mold causes respiratory illnesses in healthy children or causes people to develop asthma.

Understanding Exposure to Toxic Mold in Military Housing

The topic of toxic mold is complicated. This Is in part because the term “toxic mold” isn’t accurate. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains mold isn’t toxic or poisonous. However, some molds are toxigenic, which means they produce toxins called mycotoxins.

Mold is common in military housing because it’ll grow anywhere there’s moisture. That includes on and inside walls, carpet, upholstery, wallpaper, and heating and air conditioning systems. This is especially pronounced in humid conditions such as those present in Virginia.

Some people have no difficulties around mold, even large infestations in their homes. Other individuals are sensitive to molds, including those that produce mycotoxins. Someone can have a severe reaction when exposed to a large amount of mold indoors.

People may be more likely to experience mold toxicity symptoms if they have:

  • Allergies,
  • An underlying lung disease,
  • Immune suppression,
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder,
  • Asthma, or
  • Another chronic respiratory disease.

Common Types of Military Housing Mold

When you’re trying to learn more from the CDC and other resources, you’ll see the word “fungus” a lot. Mold is a type of fungus, which is something that exists all around us. Fungi are living organisms different from animals, plants, and bacteria. There are over 200,000 types of fungi and over 100,000 types of molds.

If you discovered mold in your military housing, it could be Cladosporium, Penicillium, Stachybotrys chartarum, Aspergillus, or many other types. Stachybotrys is what everyone knows as black mold. Aspergillus is a common indoor fungus, which releases mycotoxins and can cause illness. Your symptoms may resemble common allergy or asthma symptoms.

Who is Liable for Military Housing Mold?

Since 1996, most military housing has come under the management of private companies:

  • Belfour Beatty Communities: Fort Eustis and Fort Story/li>
  • Lincoln Military Housing: Dahlgren, Little Creek, Naval Station Norfolk, Northwest Annex, Oceana, Portsmouth, Quantico, and Yorktown/li>
  • Hunt Military Communities: Fort Lee and Langley AFB

Outside of Virginia, Lendlease and Corvias Military Living are two more housing providers. Together, these five companies formed the Military Housing Association.

Military families living in on-base housing must take their complaints to their private management company — not the military. The company is responsible for providing habitable conditions and making repairs, including mold remediation.

If you’re unsure about your rights, review your state law and local ordinances about mold. In general, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to provide a habitable unit, which means it has to be safe to live in. A unit isn’t safe if it’s causing a tenant health issues due to mold.

The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act requires landlords to disclose if there’s mold in the written report of the move-in inspection. If a tenant discovers visible mold in the unit, then the Act requires the landlord to remove the mold and relocate the tenant until it’s gone at no additional cost to the tenant.

Unfortunately, many families find their housing providers aren’t receptive to complaints. Attorney Stephen M. Smith has handled many mold lawsuits against military housing providers who fail to abide by their lease terms and the law when it comes to mold remediation and other hazards.

Other Hazards in Military Housing

Many service members and their families deal with uncomfortable, if not hazardous, conditions in privatized military housing, including:

Lead Paint: Lead-based paint can cause headaches, nausea, fatigue, irritability, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures, organ damage, and in extreme cases, death.

Asbestos: Exposure to asbestos harms a person’s lungs, and can lead to lung fibrosis (scarring), lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Radon: Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. It naturally forms underground, however cracks and gaps in buildings lead to over-exposure indoors.

Poor Water Quality: Dozens of military sites have water with detectable levels of harmful chemicals.

Other issues involve rodent or insect infestations, pesticides, and faulty electrical wiring.

What Happens When a Lot of People Get Sick?

Sometimes mold exposure impacts a single individual or family. However, when the mold spreads throughout military housing, it can impact hundreds or thousands of people.

Occasionally, a large enough group of people are injured to allow for a class action or mass tort lawsuit. A class action lawsuit is one where a class representative acts as the plaintiff on behalf of the group of hurt individuals. Not every victim participates in the lawsuit. There are rules about when a group is big and similar enough to create a class action.

Mass tort lawsuits are different. When there are fewer plaintiffs who have their own set of circumstances, each person files a lawsuit. For efficiency’s sake, one or a couple of law firms may represent most plaintiffs, and the lawsuits are consolidated in a federal court.

Call the Military Housing Mold Lawyers at Smith Law Center for Help Right Away

Mold cases come about in a few ways. You or a loved one may start getting sick, and after weeks or months of struggling to find answers, you finally realize your military housing has a mold infestation. In other cases, you struggle with visible mold and then become ill.

Once you connect the illness with the mold, it’s time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Reaching out to an attorney early helps you build a strong compensation claim. We know how to collect evidence, identify who is liable, and craft a successful argument for a settlement or court award.

Attorney Stephen M. Smith has decades of experience handling injury claims and has been internationally recognized for his work. He has litigated cases involving catastrophic injuries and complex legal and scientific issues. In 2019, he was inducted into the Virginia Lawyers Hall of Fame.

You’re in good hands when you come to Smith Law Center for help. Reach out online or call (757) 244-7000 to schedule your 100% free consultation.

Military Housing Mold Lawsuits: FAQs

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Use the simple form below to send a message directly to our lawyers. We will respond within 1 hour or less during business hours.
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