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Can Robots Be Sued for Medical Malpractice?

surgery being performed on knee by a robotic arm

We live in an era of fast-moving technology. Every day scientists and doctors alike discover new ways of treating and diagnosing people. With our ever-growing scope of care, it’s only a matter of time before diagnoses and surgeries are left to machines. Artificial intelligence may seem like a daunting, present and suspicious new addition to the medical world, however it is does not change the fact that it is becoming quite common.

Hospitals and healthcare providers now have highly intelligent, tested machines that may perform certain types of surgeries in place of a human doctor and that can even take scans and diagnose a person. At first thought, this may seem like a wonderful way to avoid error in the medical field. At second thought, how much responsibility are we giving to these forms of artificial intelligence, and at what point must doctors step back in to make decisions? This also rings a bell about medical malpractice cases.

In the event that a person is harmed or misdiagnosed, for example, at the fault of a machine, does no one get blamed and everyone walks away with their hands clean? Not necessarily. If a machine malfunctions or errs under the watch of a doctor or physician, the fault will most likely fall into their laps. There are special cases where they may not take full blame, however this is a new question that use of A.I. brings up. When a person is harmed due to machinery, who gets sued?

There are two main cases in which a medical malpractice claim is focused around A.I. or machinery. The first case is when a doctor is negligent in the process of handling machinery to aid in their processes. If a doctor places too much trust or responsibility upon a device, and something goes wrong in the process, then they are most likely at fault in the situation. Just as a doctor wouldn’t pick up a broken scalpel or use a dirty pair of scissors with a patient, they have the responsibility to create a safe and healthy environment for their patients; before, during and after their care. In the event that a piece of machinery or equipment is faulty, then the blame may fall into the manufacturer’s hands. Just as an automobile manufacturer is required to ensure safe airbags and brakes, a medical equipment manufacturer is required to provide properly functioning and effective products.

As we move more closely to the line of business, particularly in the medical world, where machinery and artificial intelligence is not only capable, but trusted, of upholding such important tasks such as someone’s health and wellbeing, we too are given higher responsibilities. Scientists and doctors have the responsibility to provide safe and ethical treatment, diagnoses, prescriptions and so on, and manufacturer’s hold the responsibility in creating and thoroughly testing equipment that will further serve medical professionals and their patients.

If you ever find yourself in a scenario where a doctor or healthcare provider blames any form of medical malpractice on a device or equipment, do not let it slide. Any type of medical malpractice that falls onto you or your family deserves justice and right-doing. If a medical professional tries to persuade you into moving on with your life, insisting there was no way around the incident, seek the help of a professional attorney to get to the bottom of it. Whether the doctor or provider is actually at fault, or if a manufacturer is at fault, there are ways to be compensated for the malpractice experienced.

If you have questions about your or a loved one’s medical malpractice case, call the offices of Buckingham & Vega today (505) 388-0066. We proudly serve the Midland, TX and Albuquerque, NM communities.

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