Health News Review
  • Oct 3 2012

    How robotic surgery is promoted on the other side of the globe

    Somehow someone added me to the mailing list for news releases from a hospital in Mumbai.  How/why this happens, one can only guess. But if they’re going to send ‘em, I may write about ‘em – even though maybe not with the slant the PR folks wanted. The latest news release from them sheds light on how robotic surgery is promoted in other places. Excerpts of the news release: Fastest 50 Robotic Surgeries In 70 days, the spe…

  • Mar 26 2013

    Robotic surgery safety/marketing concerns in Boston Globe & NY Times stories

    …llboards. The hospitals now say they are reviewing some of their marketing activities. What is odd is that the Massachusetts officials, according to the Globe, would not provide the data about how many patient injuries during robotic surgery had occurred over the past two years – only that the problem was increasing. In a piece headlined, “Salesmen in the Surgical Suite,” The New York Times reports on a man who had “roboti…

  • Oct 8 2013

    Bloomberg continues bulldog reporting on robotic surgery risks

    ;s coverage of these issues before. More robots, more uses, more questions FDA warning letter to robotic surgery manufacturer, which complains of “negative press” Roundup of robotic surgery news – colorectal, endometrial, hysterectomy Urologist confesses he was seduced by a robot ———————- Tweet Follow us on Twitter: and on Facebo…

  • Jan 4 2012

    “Gizmo idolatry,” robotic prostatectomy, and real data

    Robotic prostatectomy has spread all over the US despite the fact that we don’t have clinical trial data to show that it’s better than traditional open surgery.  The marketing of the new, the high-tech, is amplified by news coverage that uses headlines such as the following: Robot doctor – surgery of tomorrow Da Vinci puts magical touch on the prostate Cancer survivors meet lifesaving surgical robot Robotic surgeon’s han…

  • May 2 2013

    Marketing marriage made in heaven (?) – medical center & mall & surgical robots

    In December of 2011 I wrote about about New Jersey’s Saint Barnabas medical center promoting its robotic surgery system to holiday shoppers at a New Jersey shopping mall. Then, in December of 2012, I wrote about the mall marketing trend spreading to places around the country. Now, the New Jersey medical center gets more publicity by discussing some of the marketing magic behind the mall-marries-medical center relationship. I thought I̵…

  • Jun 13 2014

    Robotic surgery news & marketing – misrepresentation of evidence

    “Under the glare of an operating theatre lamp….” Here it comes:  another drooling, fawning news story about robotic surgery – this time from The Guardian in the UK under the headline, “Newcastle hospital’s £2m robot transforms medical operations.” It was surprising to see how unquestioning the story was. The subheadline: “Dexterity of Da Vinci robot allows surgeons to operate with more precision an…

  • May 9 2013

    More questions about expanded uses of robotic surgery: gallbladder and bladder cancer operations

    Laparoscopic cholecystectomy, as Paul Levy writes on his Not Running A Hospital blog, is a surgery to remove a gall bladder using laparoscopic instruments through holes in the abdomen instead of cutting it open.  Lap choles, for short. “So, what do you do if you are a robotic surgery device company that has saturated the marketplace for robot-assisted prostate surgery…? Answer:  You try to create a demand for robot lap choles. You dr…

  • May 18 2011

    Hospital websites hype robotic surgery, ignore risks, influenced by manufacturer

    A paper published in the Journal for Healthcare Quality examined the content of information on 400 randomly selected U.S. hospital websites about robotic surgery. Results: “Forty-one percent of hospital websites described robotic surgery. Among these, 37% percent presented robotic surgery on their homepage, 73% used manufacturer-provided stock images or text, and 33% linked to a manufacturer website. Statements of clinical superiority we…

  • Nov 19 2012

    New York Times “Novelties” story ramps up robotic hype

    A journalist wrote me: “Ack! Another rah rah rah robotic surgery article, this time in the Times.” The blogging surgeon known as the Skeptical Scalpel tweeted: Skeptical Scalpel ‏@Skepticscalpel ICYMI. Robotic surgery puff piece in the NY Times. What draws their ire? A New York Times piece, “When Robotic Surgery Leaves Just a Scratch.” It discusses some new robotic surgery approaches, including …

  • Apr 17 2012

    Fox News’ robotic surgeon medical news contributor

    Fox News uses Dr. David Samadi, a New York urologist and “Chief of Robotics” at his NY hospital, as a “medical contributor.”  We’ve seen and heard him promote his pet approaches in the past.  He did it again this past Sunday, touting his own favorite approach over another approach known as the Cyberknife, along with sidekick physician medical news contributor Dr. Marc Siegel. I asked one of our medical editors, Dr…

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