Laparoscopic power morcellators are surgical instruments used during minimally invasive laparoscopic procedures to cut or mince large masses of uterine tissue from the uterus. Ohio morcellator cancer lawsuit attorneys note an alleged associated between the medical devices and the spread of uterine cancer to other parts of the body.
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What is a Power Morcellator and How Does It Work?
Laparoscopic power morcellators are tools used to remove the uterus or uterine fibroids from the abdomen in minimally invasive surgical procedures such as hysterectomies and myomectomies. Power morcellators are equipped with a spinning blade at the end of a hollow cylinder. The tube is inserted into the abdomen, and the blade cuts or minces the uterus into smaller pieces so that those pieces can then be extracted through small incisions in the abdominal wall.
FDA Safety Communication and Power Morcellation
In a safety communication issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April 2014, the agency estimated that 1 in 350 women undergoing surgical procedures for the removal of uterine fibroids is found to have undetected uterine sarcoma, a type of uterine cancer. If laparoscopic power morcellation is used to treat women with unsuspected uterine sarcoma, there is a possible risk that the procedure will inadvertently spread cancerous tissues to other organs in the body.
In their communication, the FDA advised health providers to discourage the use of power morcellators in hysterectomy and myomectomy, avoid using the devices in women with suspected or known uterine cancer, and consider all available treatment options for women with symptomatic uterine fibroids.
Power Morcellator Cancer Risks
Traditional hysterectomies require large incisions and extended time spent recovering in the hospital; however, laparoscopic surgical procedures that utilize power morcellators often have a lower risk of surgical site infection, less blood loss, less post-operative pain, and shorter recovery time. Additionally, scars associated with traditional procedures are not as large. Although power morcellators have been used in hysterectomies and myomectomies for many years, power morcellation has been associated with an increased risk of spreading potentially cancerous tissue throughout the abdominal cavity.
While the use of power morcellators in laparoscopic hysterectomies is less invasive and typically results in shorter recovery times, the devices may cause cancerous tissue to spread throughout the body in women with undiagnosed or unsuspected uterine sarcoma. There are no reliable methods for detecting whether or not a woman has uterine sarcoma. In some cases, chunks of remaining tissue could be left behind and result in the spread of cancer to other organs and areas of the body if the remaining tissue is malignant.
Power Morcellator Recall and Investigation
After the FDA issued its safety communication in April 2014, Johnson & Johnson began calling for doctors and hospitals worldwide to discontinue using power morcellators and return the surgical devices due to the alleged risk of spreading undiagnosed cancer to other organs in the body. Ethicon, a division of Johnson & Johnson and major manufacturer of power morcellators, withdrew the power morcellators from the market, believing that such action was necessary following the FDA’s warning.
In addition to the company’s recall, the Wall Street Journal reported in May 2015 that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated what Johnson & Johnson might have known about the potential dangers related to the use of power morcellators and cancer. Several people were interviewed in the Journal’s report, including a 42-year-old anesthesiologist from Pennsylvania who had been vocal about her cancer after she underwent a hysterectomy with a power morcellator in 2013 at a Boston hospital.
How an Ohio 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 an Ohio 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 Ohio 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.
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