Laparoscopic power morcellators, primarily used to divide and remove non-cancerous tissue during minimally invasive hysterectomies, could potentially spread unsuspected cancerous tissue to other organs and parts of the body. Affected women and their families may be eligible to file a South Carolina morcellator cancer lawsuit and pursue compensation for injuries related to these medical devices.
For more information, contact Attorney Group for South 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?
Power morcellators are electric medical devices used to divide and remove the uterus or non-cancerous uterine fibroids in minimally invasive surgical procedures such as hysterectomies and myomectomies. Similar to a drill, the instrument is equipped with sharp blades that allow surgeons to cut up the uterus into smaller fragments in order to remove larger pieces of tissue through small incisions in the stomach.
FDA Safety Communication
In a safety communication issued in November 2014, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated a previous warning from April of that year estimating that approximately 1 in 350 women who undergo hysterectomy or myomectomy is discovered to have sarcoma, a kind of uterine cancer. Healthcare providers and patients are strongly advised to pursue other available treatment methods for the removal uterine fibroids.
In their communication, the FDA states the following:
- If the procedure to remove uterine fibroids is performed with a power morcellator in women with undetected uterine sarcoma, there is a greater risk that potentially cancerous tissue could spread to other organs of the body. This risk is greater than previously suspected.
- Since the availability of alternative surgical options exists for most women, the FDA recommends against the use of power morcellation in women undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy.
As part of the FDA communication, procedures involving morcellators should be limited, patients should be warned about the potential risks, and doctors should share this information with their patients. Manufacturers are strongly urged to include this new information on their product labels.
Power Morcellator Cancer Risks
When used for hysterectomy or myomectomy, laparoscopic power morcellation poses a risk of spreading unsuspected cancerous tissue, specifically uterine sarcomas, beyond the uterus to other organs in the body. For many women, they may choose to undergo a hysterectomy or myomectomy because these minimally invasive procedures usually offer shorter post-operative recovery times and reduced risk of infection compared to traditional abdominal hysterectomy or myomectomy.
Although power morcellators have been used for decades, there are a number of alternative treatment options available, including surgery without morcellation, minilaparotomy, and high-intensity focused ultrasound.
Additional concerns regarding injury to other areas have been questioned such as complications related the following organs:
- Major vascular structures
Power Morcellator Recall and Investigation
Although an official recall was not issued, Johnson & Johnson, the maker of the devices, asked doctors and hospitals worldwide to stop using power morcellators and return the devices due the alleged risk of spreading undiagnosed cancerous tissue to other parts of the body. As a result, many hospitals and some of the country’s largest health plans either have cut use of power morcellators or are considering limits.
In a report from the Wall Street Journal in May 2015, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducted an investigation into what Johnson & Johnson may have known about the risks involved when power morcellators were used to treat uterine fibroids. According to the report in the Wall Street Journal, a Pennsylvania anesthesiologist went public after her own cancer worsened after she underwent a hysterectomy at a Boston Hospital. The hospital acknowledged her claims and that the device had spread malignancy in another patient in 2012.
How a South 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 South 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 South 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 South Carolina today.