Robert B. Benowitz, EE, Hospital and Medical Equipment Safety Consultant
Case Summary: A female patient was undergoing gynecological surgery and was fully instrumented. After one portion of the surgery was completed, the surgeon adjusted the operating table downward. The operating room personnel placed items on the base of the operating table against specific instructions located on the table and in the table manual. As the table moved downward, the items on the base penetrated into the table controls area crushing critical wires and causing the table to double up with the patient in it. The patient was seriously injured when she was compressed within the table and the previously placed instruments were jammed within her vagina and uterus.
The expert, working on behalf of the operating table manufacturer, explained in his report, and in a lengthy deposition, how the objects were improperly placed on the base and caused the table to malfunction.