Health News Review
  • Mar 7 2014

    Robotic surgery roundup: great small paper journalism, new marketing/ad campaigns

    Since I think it’s a safe bet that not many of you regularly read The Bulletin newspaper of Bend, Oregon, I suggest you read a two-part series by Markian Hawryluk as just one indication of the difference one individual can make, no matter the size of the news organization. In part one, “Robot surgery is [...]

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  • Feb 5 2014

    Cancer fundraiser toys with truth in using robotic surgery to get donations

    Canadians may have thought they had been transported south of the border, where robotic surgery is widely and wildly promoted all the time. But this week, for World Cancer Day, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation posted this fundraising plea: The website explains: “Give 6 patients the best surgery while changing cancer care internationally with your [...]

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  • Jan 22 2014

    Paul Levy says someone should be fired – and he suggests who – for NYT daVinci ad

    Former hospital CEO Paul Levy continues his relentless questioning about the proliferation and marketing of robotic surgery systems with a blog post entitled, “Time to fire somebody.” It’s about an ad in the Sunday New York Times magazine. The ad was placed by da Vinci Surgery (or Intuitive) – the robotic surgery system company. But [...]

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  • Dec 6 2013

    Robotic surgery recall prompts “dear reporter” message from ex-hospital CEO

    Paul Levy, former medical center CEO, blogs, “Dear health care reporters: Look this way.” He points to Bloomberg’s continued coverage of questions about robotic surgery systems, including this week’s news about “an urgent recall” because of systems stalling during operations. And his note to reporters: “…the recall affects 1,386 of the systems worldwide.  You’d think [...]

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  • Nov 10 2013

    NBC races the clock in a race to the bottom with anchormen & prostate cancer screening promotion

    It was not the peacock’s finest hour. Or even their finest 34 seconds. Last week, NBC Today show anchors Matt Lauer and Al Roker had digital rectal exams (out of view, behind closed doors) on live TV.  Lauer and the network announced that “The live event is part of No-Shave November, TODAY’s initiative to raise [...]

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  • Oct 8 2013

    Bloomberg continues bulldog reporting on robotic surgery risks

    See Robert Langreth’s piece, “Robot Surgery Damaging Patients Rises With Marketing.” Langreth reflects on a familiar tale: Promotions that emphasize benefits, minimize or ignore harms “another breakthrough in robotic surgery” “Star Wars” comparisons Excerpt from the story: “Robotic surgeries are on the rise, fueled by aggressive marketing by doctors, hospitals and Intuitive Surgical Inc. (ISRG), [...]

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  • Sep 10 2013

    Roundup of robotic surgery news – colorectal, endometrial, hysterectomy

    As we’ve previously noted, with the explosive proliferation of robotic surgery systems in the US, it requires almost fulltime attention on a fulltime beat in order to stay on top of what is published about robotics.  I can’t devote that kind of fulltime attention.  But from time to time, I post research results that catch [...]

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  • Sep 4 2013

    Unaccountable health care…underreporting of robotic surgery problems

    A paper published online first by the Journal of Healthcare Quality, “Underreporting of Robotic Surgery Complications,” raises questions about how accurate a safety picture is publicly available. The paper is authored by Dr. Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins and two colleagues.  Makary is a frequent critic of the proliferation of robotic surgery systems. I found [...]

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  • Aug 22 2013

    Medscape asks: “Robotic Surgery: Too Much, Too Soon?”

    On Medscape, an editor and a surgeon published a slide show series entitled “Robotic Surgery:  Too Much, Too Soon?“  (You need to register in order to see it).  Some excerpts: Is Insufficient Training a Serious Problem With Robotic Surgery? Intuitive Surgical is currently facing various lawsuits involving improperly trained surgeons. In a Medscape interview, J. [...]

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  • Jul 19 2013

    FDA warning letter to robotic surgery manufacturer, which complains of “negative press”

    Bloomberg News reports: “Intuitive Surgical Inc. (ISRG), the maker of robotic surgical devices, fell in extended trading after it disclosed a Food and Drug Administration warning letter and reduced its sales forecast. The company received the warning letter July 17, Chief Executive Officer Gary Guthart said during a conference call with analysts to discuss quarterly [...]

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