The Food and Drug Administration warned in April 2014 that a device sometimes used in uterine surgeries, known as a power morcellator, can spread undetected cancer in women, diminishing the odds of prompt detection and successful treatment.
This prompted a government investigation, and the FDA has urged surgeons to stop using the devices. The issue has attracted media attention, particularly due to the deaths linked to this surgical instrument. It has also led affected women to file morcellator lawsuits against the companies responsible for these products.
Cancer Risk Leads to Lawsuits from Morcellator Victims
The leading manufacturer of these devices, Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon, took its morcellation devices off the market following the FDA’s warnings. But this action was too little, too late for many women who are now facing advanced cancer – or who have lost their battle with cancer. These women weren’t aware of the risks they were assuming by undergoing surgery with this device.
We can only make the best decisions for our health when we have all of the information. If you or a loved one is facing a cancer spread by a morcellator, you have a right to seek justice. You may be entitled to compensation.
Contact the experienced defective device attorneys at Childers, Schlueter & Smith today to discuss your options during a free, no-obligation legal consultation.
Was a Morcellator Used in Your Surgery?
What is a morcellator?
A morcellator is a device used in tens of thousands of laparoscopic hysterectomies and myomectomies each year. It is used to shred tissue. If a woman has a hysterectomy involving a morcellator, the device is used to shred the uterus into small pieces that can be removed via a small incision, allowing for a faster recovery.
In the case of a myomectomy, the device is used to cut and remove fibroids from uterine tissue.
How does a morcellator spread cancer?
The FDA estimates that 1 in 350 women who undergo uterine surgery has an undetected sarcoma, or cancer, in the uterus. The risk of this cancer appears to increase with age, according to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The shredding action of a power morcellator can spread the cancerous tissue throughout the abdomen, hastening the cancer’s development.
From the FDA’s April 17, 2014 warning:
If laparoscopic power morcellation is performed in women with unsuspected uterine sarcoma, there is a risk that the procedure will spread the cancerous tissue within the abdomen and pelvis, significantly worsening the patient’s likelihood of long-term survival.
Report: Johnson & Johnson Told of Morcellator Cancer Risk in 2006
It appears that Johnson & Johnson was informed of this risk long before they stopped selling the devices. A surgeon told the Pittsburgh Business Times that he wrote to the company in 2006 to inform them of this risk.
“If a morcellation is done, the patient’s survival is jeopardized,” wrote Dr. Robert Lamparter, a pathologist at Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg, Pa.
In response, the company altered the instructions it provided to surgeons, but the public was never informed. Women undergoing a myomectomy or hysterectomy were unaware of this serious potential danger.
The morcellators that were sold and subsequently taken of the market by Ethicon include:
- Gynecare Morcellex Tissue Morcellator
- Morcellex Sigma Tissue Morcellator System
- Gynecare X-Tract Tissue Morcellator
Why File a Morcellator Lawsuit?
Cancer is a physical, emotional and financial hardship. If you were harmed due to a morcellator, you shouldn’t have to bear this cost. You have a right to seek accountability and compensation for the company that sold this device, and we may be able to help you do it.
You want an attorney who has handled cases involving defective medical products before. At Childers, Schlueter & Smith, we are those attorneys. We know how to build the strongest case for compensation on behalf of victims like you.
Get Help and Hold the Morcellator Manufacturer Accountable
The buzz about the risks associated with morcellators has led politicians to call for an outright ban on the devices. An online petition supporting a ban has gained more than 85,000 signatures.
If you or a loved one has suffered from cancer spread by a power morcellator during surgery, you need to make sure you know your options. You may be entitled to compensation from the company that manufactured the device that caused this horrible ordeal.
Contact the attorneys at Childers, Schlueter & Smith today at (800) 641-0098. Consultations are free and without obligation.