A medical device used during minimally invasive hysterectomies and myomectomies known as a laparoscopic power morcellator may spread undiagnosed cancerous tissue throughout the body. Affected women and their families may be eligible to file a North Carolina morcellator cancer lawsuit and pursue compensation for injuries related to these surgical devices.
For more information, contact Attorney Group for North Carolina 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?
Laparoscopic power morcellators are medical devices used in minimally invasive surgical procedures such as hysterectomies and myomectomies to remove the uterus or uterine fibroids. The device is similar to a long drill with sharp blades at the end. Surgeons use power morcellators to cut up the uterus into smaller pieces and remove the remaining tissue through small incisions in the abdomen.
FDA Safety Communication
In November 2014, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an update to a previous safety communication released in April of that year. The warning estimated that approximately 1 in 350 women who undergo hysterectomy or myomectomy is found to have uterine sarcoma, a certain type of uterine cancer. Doctors and patients are strongly urged to look for available alternative treatment options for the removal uterine fibroids.
In their communication, the FDA states the following:
- There is a greater risk than previously suspected that power morcellation will spread cancerous tissue throughout the abdomen and pelvis if the procedure is performed in women with undetected uterine sarcoma.
- Because of alternative surgical options available for most women, the FDA advises against the use of power morcellation in women undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy.
- As part of the FDA communication, surgeries involving morcellators should be limited because of the risk of spreading unsuspected cancer. Additionally, doctors are strongly urged to share this information with their patients, and manufacturers should include this new information on their product labels.
Power Morcellator Cancer Risks
When used in minimally invasive surgical procedures, laparoscopic power morcellation presents a risk of spreading unsuspected uterine sarcomas outside of the uterus and onto to other organs throughout the body. For many women, they may choose to have a hysterectomy or myomectomy because these types of operations typically have shorter post-operative recovery times and a reduced risk of infection compared to traditional abdominal hysterectomy or myomectomy.
Power morcellators have been used for decades; however, there are also a number of alternative treatment options available. There is a limited understanding of the short-term and long-term consequences of morcellation, and other treatment options are available such as laparoscopic surgery without morcellation, minilaparotomy (using a smaller incision), and high-intensity focused ultrasound. Additional concerns have been raised regarding injury to other organs such as the bowels, bladder, ureters, pancreas, spleen, and major vascular structures.
Power Morcellator Recall and Investigation
Although an official recall of the product has not been issued, Johnson & Johnson called for doctors and hospitals worldwide to cease using power morcellators and return the devices due to the risk of spreading undiagnosed uterine cancer to other parts of the body.
According to a May 2015 report in the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated what Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of the devices, knew about the risks associated with the use of power morcellators when used to treat uterine fibroids. In the Journal’s report, a former pathologist said that he had contacted Ethicon, the division of Johnson & Johnson responsible for the production of the devices, once he began noticing more morcellated specimens in his lab. According to the article, the pathologist stated in his correspondence with the company that he was concerned about the potential for an undetected cancer to be inadvertently spread by the power morcellator.
How a North Carolina 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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina today.