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International Angiology 2010 February;29(1):75-9

Copyright © 2010 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Legal and ethical issues in robotic surgery

Mavroforou A. 1, 2, Michalodimitrakis E. 2, Hatzitheo-filou C. 3, Giannoukas A. 4

1 Department of Medical Law and Ethics, University of Thessaly Medical School, Larissa, Greece 2 Department of Forensic Sciences, University of Crete Medical School, Heraklion, Crete, Greece 3 Department of Surgery, University of Thessaly Medical School, Larissa, Greece 4 Department of Vascular Surgery, University of Thessaly Medical School, Larissa, Greece


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AIM: With the rapid introduction of revolutionary technologies in surgical practice, such as computer-enhanced robotic surgery, the complexity in various aspects, including medical, legal and ethical, will increase exponentially. Our aim was to highlight important legal and ethical implications emerged from the application of robotic surgery.
METHODS: Search of the pertinent medical and legal literature.
RESULTS: Robotic surgery may open new avenues in the near future in surgical practice. However, in robotic surgery, special training and experience along with high quality assessment are required in order to provide normal conscientious care and state-of-the-art treatment. While the legal basis for professional liability remains exactly the same, litigation with the use of robotic surgery may be complex. In case of an undesirable outcome, in addition to physician and hospital, the manufacturer of the robotic system may be sued. In respect to ethical issues in robotic surgery, equipment safety and reliability, provision of adequate information, and maintenance of confidentiality are all of paramount importance. Also, the cost of robotic surgery and the lack of such systems in most of the public hospitals may restrict the majority from the benefits offered by the new technology.
CONCLUSION: While surgical robotics will have a significant impact on surgical practice, it presents challenges so much in the realm of law and ethics as of medicine and health care.

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