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“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our [robot], but in ourselves, …”

Posted May 05 2010 12:00am

The Wall Street Journal carries a sad story today of what can go wrong when surgeons with insufficient skill, focus, and experience use high-tech equipment to carry out complicated operations.

The situation reported in this article does not relate specifically to prostate cancer but it does relate to the use of the da Vinci “robot” and its use as a marketing tool as opposed to a piece of complicated medical equipment that should be used only by surgeons with an appropriate level of training and expertise and who use the equipment on a very regular basis.

We wish to be very clear in repeating what we have said many times before. Patients who choose to undergo surgery as a treatment for their prostate cancer should worry less about the equipment and the technique that is proposed and much more about the level of skill, focus, and expertise of the surgeon who is actually going to operate on them. An insufficiently trained and inexperienced surgeon wielding a da Vinci robot is at least as dangerous to your health as an insufficiently trained and inexperienced surgeon wielding a traditional scalpel.

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