Minimally Invasive Surgery Can Create Significant Health Risks
Power morcellators are used by gynecologists and other doctors to perform important minimally invasive surgeries like myomectomies (fibroid removals) and hysterectomies (uterus removals) to reduce recovery time where more invasive traditional surgeries would typically be necessary.
A power morcellator breaks down tissues and vacuums it away. Unfortunately, some cells from the fibroids or the uterus may not be vacuumed up by the device and, instead, may remain in a patient’s pelvis or abdomen. If the remaining cells are cancerous, then this can create a dangerous and life-threatening situation.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), approximately one in 350 women who go in for fibroid surgery have undetected uterine sarcoma—or cancer. The estimated life expectancy for a woman with an undetected uterine sarcoma who has undergone surgery with power morcellation is just two to three years.
Kentucky Hospitals Performing Minimally Invasive Surgeries With Morcellator Devices
Many hospitals in Kentucky, including Norton Healthcare, KentuckyOne Health, St. Joseph East, and Baptist Health offer minimally invasive robotic hysterectomy surgeries. These surgeries use the Da Vinci Robotic Surgery system. While not all Da Vinci system surgeries use power morcellators, it is common for morcellators to be used during Da Vinci system surgeries. It is important to talk to your doctor if you are being offered a minimally invasive surgery using the Da Vinci system or another technique, because you need to know if a power morcellator will be used.
If You Were Diagnosed With Cancer After Minimally Invasive Surgery, You Need to Talk to a Lawyer
You need immediate legal advice if you did not have cancer before a morcellator-assisted surgery and developed cancer afterwards. It is important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible if your myomectomy or hysterectomy was performed with a power morcellator and, within two years of that surgery, you were diagnosed with either leiomyosarcoma or uterine cancer.
It is especially important to talk to a lawyer quickly if your cancer was diagnosed at stage 3 or stage 4. Additionally, you should talk to a lawyer now if your loved one died from one of these conditions after a myomectomy or hysterectomy that was performed with a power morcellator.
Filing a Power Morcellator Lawsuit Against the Device Manufacturer
Your lawsuit might be against the company that manufactured or marketed the power morcellator. Lawsuits have already been filed against several power morcellator manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson. These lawsuits allege that the manufacturer or marketer knew or should have known that power morcellators can allow dangerous cancers to spread. More specifically, they allege that these companies:
- Were negligent.
- Fraudulently misrepresented their products.
- Failed to adequately test their products.
- Failed to warn healthcare professionals and patients about the risks associated with power morcellators.
- Failed to recall power morcellators once they knew about the risks.
Your specific lawsuit might be against the company that made or marketed the power morcellator that your doctor used during your surgery. For example, some cases that have already been filed include:
- A case against Karl Storz Endoscopy America, the manufacturer of the Karl Storz Rotocut Morcellator. In 2013, the plaintiff, Peggy Paduda, had a hysterectomy that was performed with a power morcellator. Prior to surgery, she did not exhibit any signs of cancer and she did not know that she had cancer. However, after surgery, she was diagnosed with endometrial stromal sarcoma. Her quality of life and her life expectancy were both negatively impacted. Her lawsuit alleges that she was not adequately warned about the risk, even though the company knew of the risk.
- A case against Ethicon, the manufacturer of the Morcellex Morcellator. The Morcellex Morcellator was used to perform Brenda Leuzzi’s hysterectomy. Shortly after her hysterectomy, Ms. Leuzzi was diagnosed with acute uterine leiomyosarcoma. Her lawsuit alleges that Ethicon failed to warn her about the risks associated with the Morcellex Morcellator.
These women are not the only ones who have been hurt or who may benefit from a lawsuit.
Why You Should File a Power Morcellator Lawsuit After Being Diagnosed With Cancer
The cancer you are suffering is expensive—both emotionally and financially. It can have a significant impact on your entire family. Without a lawsuit, you can expect that you will be responsible for your own medical bills, that you will be uncompensated for your lost income, and that no one else will pay for your pain and suffering.
However, if you file a lawsuit, then the company that made or marketed the power morcellator may be held accountable and may pay you for past, current, and future:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Pain and suffering
- Other damages
Additionally, your lawsuit could help encourage medical device safety and discourage companies from marketing potentially dangerous products that help their bottom line but that cause many people significant harm.
The dangers of power morcellators have been recognized by the FDA, and others. Specifically:
- In April 2014, the FDA issued a safety communication about power morcellators and warned that power morcellators could spread unsuspected cancerous tissue beyond the uterus when these devices were used for fibroid removal or hysterectomies.
- In November 2014, the FDA updated its safety communication and warned against the use of power morcellators for the majority of women. While the agency stopped short of a recall, a new boxed warning was recommended.
- In May 2015, the New York Times reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was looking into whether power morcellator manufacturers, doctors, and hospitals broke the law by failing to report problems with these devices.
Contact Gray & White Law, Experienced Defective Medical Device Attorneys in Louisville
It is important to hire an attorney who has experience representing people hurt by defective medical devices and an attorney who can give you the individual attention that you deserve during this difficult time in your life. Clients of Gray & White get not just one attorney who meets these criteria, but rather a team of dedicated and experienced lawyers, an on-staff nurse, and others who have successfully helped other Kentucky patients recover against international medical device manufacturers.
If you’ve been hurt by a power morcellator in Louisville, Lexington, or elsewhere in Kentucky then we encourage you to contact us directly through this website or at 888-450-4456 to learn more about how we may be able to help you.