Women who have undergone minimally invasive laparoscopic surgical procedures that utilized a power morcellator are alleged to have a heightened risk of developing certain kinds of cancer, including uterine sarcoma. Affected patients and their families may be eligible to file a Louisiana morcellator cancer lawsuit and pursue compensation for complications associated with these surgical tools.
For more information, contact Attorney Group for Louisiana today. Our consultations are free, confidential and without any obligation on your part. We can help answer your questions, and if you choose to pursue a claim we can connect you with an affiliated attorney who can assist you throughout the legal process.
What is a Power Morcellator and How Does It Work?
Often used in different types of minimally invasive surgeries such as hysterectomies and myomectomies, laparoscopic power morcellators are medical instruments that divide and remove the uterus and uterine fibroids. The drill-like instrument is inserted into the abdominal cavity and small blades at the end of a hollow tube cut up larger pieces of the uterus and uterine fibroids into smaller pieces. Those pieces are then removed through small incisions in the abdomen.
FDA Safety Communication
In April 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned physicians and healthcare providers to stop using power morcellators for the removal of uterine fibroids during minimally invasive laparoscopic surgical procedures. Based on an analysis of the data currently available, the FDA estimated that 1 in 350 women undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy is found to have undetected uterine sarcoma, a kind of cancer formed in the uterus.
In their report, the FDA recommended that healthcare providers discourage the use of power morcellators in hysterectomy or myomectomy, discontinue power morcellation in women with suspected or diagnosed uterine cancer, carefully consider alternative treatment possibilities, and discuss the benefits and risks of any kind of treatments with their patients.
Power Morcellator Cancer Risks
Power morcellators are frequently used in laparoscopic surgical procedures because their use offers patients less blood loss, less post-operative pain, and faster recovery time. Despite decades of use to treat uterine fibroids, laparoscopic power morcellators have been linked to an escalated risk of spreading potentially cancerous tissue to other parts of the abdominal cavity and internal organs.
In a November 2014 update of their original safety communication, the FDA took the following actions based on scientific information suggesting that the use of power morcellators may be related to the spread of unsuspected uterine cancer in women undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy:
- Conducted a review of scientific literature and estimated that the prevalence of undetected uterine cancer was higher than previously thought
- Discussed mitigation strategies such as labeling and suggested the usefulness of using boxed warnings disclosing the risk of unsuspected malignancy
- Issued guidance asking manufacturers to place labels on their products warning against the use of power morcellators in women undergoing hysterectomy and myomectomy and recommended that doctors share this information with their patients
- Published information regarding alternative treatment options so that patients may better understand the risks associated with the use of the devices
Power Morcellator Recall and Investigation
As a result of the FDA warnings and recommendations, Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of the devices, immediately recalled three laparoscopic power morcellators from hospitals worldwide. According to MarketWatch, Johnson & Johnson, voluntarily halted the sale of the devices once the warning was issued to the public. At the time of the FDA’s communication, Johnson & Johnson defended the use of the devices, however, the FDA has not made a final ruling regarding the tool’s future.
In addition to the voluntary recall, a May 2015 report in the Wall Street Journal noted that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was investigating what Johnson & Johnson knew about the likely dangers associated with the use of power morcellators and certain kinds of uterine cancer.
How a Louisiana Morcellator Cancer Lawsuit Can Help
Medical device makers have a duty to provide safe products. If there are risks of harm associated with their devices, they also must provide adequate warnings. If a device maker fails to fulfill this duty, it could be held liable in lawsuits for injuries that may result.
Patients who are injured by a power morcellator may be entitled to compensation for damages, including:
- Medical expenses
- The permanency of the injury
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish
- Loss of income or ability to work
If a patient dies from complications related to a defective power morcellator, family members may be entitled to compensation for the wrongful death of their loved one, including:
- Conscious pain and suffering of a loved one prior to death
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish from the loss of a loved one
- Funeral expenses
Patients who have suffered severe complications from a power morcellator, as well as the families of those who have died as a result of complications with the device, are encouraged to seek the advice of a Louisiana morcellator cancer lawsuit attorney to learn more about their rights and remedies.
The Time You Have to Pursue a Claim is Limited. Contact Us Today.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer after a power morcellator procedure contact Attorney Group for Louisiana for more information. You can fill out the form on this page, call us at the number listed at the top of the page, or email us at [email protected].
When you contact us, an attorney will follow up with you to speak with you about your case or answer questions that you might have. There is no cost or obligation to speak with us, and any information you provide will be kept confidential.
Please note that the law limits the time you have to pursue a claim for an injury. If you think you have a case, you should not delay taking action.
See our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information, and contact Attorney Group for Louisiana today.