Normally used to remove the uterus and uterine fibroids during minimally invasive surgical procedures such as hysterectomies, laparoscopic power morcellators are alleged to spread unsuspected cancerous tissue throughout the body. Affected women and their families may be eligible to file a Pennsylvania morcellator cancer lawsuit to recover compensation for injuries related to these surgical devices.
For more information, contact Attorney Group for Pennsylvania 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?
A laparoscopic power morcellator is a surgical instrument used for division and removal of large masses of tissue during minimally invasive laparoscopic surgical procedures. These procedures include hysterectomies (removal of the uterus) and myomectomies (removal of uterine fibroids). During a hysterectomy or myomectomy, power morcellators cut or mince the uterus or uterine fibroids into smaller pieces so that the tissues may be removed through small incisions in the abdomen.
FDA Safety Communication and Power Morcellator Recall
According to a safety communication released by the U. S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) in April 2014, approximately 1 in 350 women who undergo a hysterectomy or myomectomy surgical procedure is found to have sarcoma, a type of uterine cancer. The FDA has since updated its findings in a November 2014 report. If possible, healthcare providers and patients are strongly urged to seek available alternative treatment options for the removal of uterine fibroids.
In the report, the FDA stated that there is a greater risk of the spread of cancerous tissue throughout the abdomen in women with undetected uterine sarcoma. The report also recommended that physicians avoid using power morcellators and share information regarding the devices with their patients.
As a result of the growing amount of evidence linking power morcellation and cancer, Johnson & Johnson immediately recalled three laparoscopic power morcellators and requested that the devices be returned from hospitals worldwide.
Power Morcellator Risks
Laparoscopic morcellation allows surgeons to remove large amounts of tissue through smaller incisions in the abdomen when used in minimally invasive surgical procedures such as hysterectomies and myomectomies. Compared to traditional surgical approaches, laparoscopic procedures often have a lower risk of surgical site infection, less blood loss, less post-operative pain, and quicker return to full activities.
Despite the use of power morcellators for many years, power morcellation is associated with an increased risk of spreading potentially cancerous tissue throughout the abdominal cavity, which may require additional surgery or chemotherapy. Concerns regarding injury to other organs such as the bladder, bowels, ureters, spleen, pancreas, and major vascular structures have been raised.
Other serious risks associated with power morcellator surgical procedures include:
- In some cases, failed removal all of the target tissue
- If some of the missed target tissue was cancerous, a patient’s cancer risk would not have been adequately addressed through the procedure
- The disruption of large tissue had the potential to be spread to other areas of the abdomen and body
Power Morcellator Cancer Risks
The use of power morcellators in laparoscopic hysterectomies may cause cancerous tissue to spread throughout the body in women with undiagnosed or unsuspected uterine sarcoma. In those cases, pieces of remaining tissue may be still present after morcellation and, if the remaining tissue is malignant, could result in the spread of cancer to other organs and areas of the body.
In May 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating what Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of the device, knew about the potential hazards associated with the use of power morcellators and cancer. Concerned about several issues involving the instrument, a former pathologist described the potential for undetected cancerous tissues to be inadvertently spread during the procedure.
How a Pennsylvania 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.
kPatients 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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania today.