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Salesmen in the robotic surgical suite

The New York Times, March 26, 2013
When Fred E. Taylor arrived at Harrison Medical Center in Silverdale, Wash., for a routine prostatectomy, he expected the best medical care new technology had to offer: robotic surgery, billed as safer, less painful and easier on the body than traditional surgery. The operation, on Sept. 9, 2008, was supposed to take five hours. But it was marred by a remarkable cascade of complications and dragged on for more than 13 hours, leaving Mr. Taylor, who had been an active 67-year-old retiree, incontinent and with a colostomy bag, and leading to kidney and lung damage, sepsis and a stroke. Mr. Taylor survived his injuries but died last year. Now, his wife, Josette, is suing Intuitive Surgical Inc., the company that makes the equipment and trained the surgeon to use it.