Top surgeon: I’d never let risky robots operate on MY heart
ONE of the world’s leading cardiac surgeons has warned he would never allow a robot to operate on his heart because several cases have ended in disaster.
Professor Stephen Westaby said he would choose ‘the standard saw up the middle of the breastbone’ over risk-laden robotic heart surgery.
The surgeon, who has performed more than 12,000 operations in his career, said the advantages of using robots during heart surgery are ‘very small indeed’ and urged caution in rolling out robots across the NHS. His comments came after an inquest heard Stephen Pettitt, 9, died after pioneering heart surgery using the Da Vinci robot ‘spiralled out of control’.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Professor Westaby, 70, added: ‘The smallest of mistakes can cascade into disaster.’ However, Dr Patrick Finlay, a biomedical engineer who founded a robotic firm, said 4,500 such robots carried out operations safely every day.