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Ponce Vs. Giannotti


The plaintiff in this case underwent a procedure to have his gallbladder removed. The doctor utilized a robot for the performance of the operation. During the surgery, the patient was injured. Apparently, the physician did not have proper training or experience and this is important because the use of robotics in medicine is exploding.

Filed: July 26, 2016

Jurisdiction: Circuit Court of Illinois, Cook County

Category: Medical Malpractice

Plaintiff: Gabriel Ponce

Defendant(s): Giovanni Giannotti; Govanni Giannotti M.D.; Boffa Surgical Group LLC; Boffa Surgical Group


The plaintiff in this case was a middle-aged man named Gabriel Ponce. He was experiencing pain in his abdomen so he went to see a doctor named Giovanni Giannotti. After assessing the man’s condition, the physician determined that Gabriel had cholecysititis. Cholecysititis is a condition of pain, irritation, or inflammation within the gallbladder. Often times, this condition arises when stones or other kinds of blockages form between the gallbladder and the small intestine. Gianotti recommended and performed a cholecystectomy in order to remove the organ and alleviate the pain and irritation that Ponce was experiencing. This exact procedure was actually a robot-assisted treatment and one, according to the plaintiff, that the defendant doctor did not have sufficient training or experience in performing. As it turned out, Ponce was injured during the operation and later required follow-up procedures to correct the errors. He sued to recover for these events.

Claims and Damages:

Ponce sued his doctor and the doctor’s employer on a claim of medical malpractice because of the events previously described. He made some strong allegations in the complaint. Here are some of the most important points that he made: the defendants did not properly spot all body parts or visualize the surgical field; the defendants performed the operation without adequate assistance and without adequate training; the defendants did not receive informed consent; and the defendants were responsible right hepatic arterial and common duct injuries.

Due to these circumstances, Ponce claimed that he suffered the following expenses and damages:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Neurological damage

Related Laws:

  • 735 ILCS 5/2-622
  • 740 ILCS 180
  • 750 ILCS 65/15
  • 735 ILCS 5/13-212
  • 735 ILCS 5/2-1116
  • 735 ILCS 5/2-1115
  • 735 ILCS 5/2-1114
  • 735 ILCS 5/2-1205

Expert Insights:

  • Laparoscopic procedures are very common in modern medicine especially with the aid of robotic devices. Yet, there is not much known about the training procedures that doctors go through in order to ascertain a base level of proficiency in using them. The hurdle for the defendant to clear will be to show that he was qualified for this procedure and with this device. If he cannot, then he should have done it in the first place.
  • Generally, it might be possible to sue the manufacturer of the device as well if you can show that the device was not working properly or if the device did not have sufficient or proper instructions for the doctor’s use. This is helpful because it brings someone else onto the stage that can answer to the plaintiff’s injuries and one with generally deep pockets.
  • More than other kinds of cases, this lawsuit raises the specter of liability for the facility or medical company because they could be on the hook if they did not adequately train their employees in the use of this incredibly complicated procedure and incredibly complicated device.

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