An independent scientist first warned of possible cancer risks associated with power morcellators in 2006. Since then, it has become widely known that use of these devices during hysterectomies does indeed put patients at a greater risk for contracting the form of uterine cancer known as Leiomyosarcoma, or “LMS”. Our Houston personal injury lawyers have discussed the risks associated with these dangerous medical devices in depth, and are poised to help power morcellator victims obtain just compensation.
When Do Doctors Use Power Morcellators?
Originally introduced in 1991, doctors have been using power morcellators for more than two decades to perform hysterectomies and myomectomies. Thanks to their design, power morcellators allow doctors to reduce the incision sites for these surgeries from several inches down to roughly an inch and a half. Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson company, is a major supplier of power morcellators, and has supplied devices used in thousands of procedures across the country. Estimates suggest that roughly 10 percent of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed annually in the United States are performed using power morcellators.
How to Power Morcellators Cause Cancer?
Tragically, as early as 2006, an independent scientist warned Johnson & Johnson that instances of LMS had been shown to increase dramatically among patients who underwent hysterectomies using power morcellators. Power morcellators work by mincing the patient’s uterine tissue, and pieces of the minced tissue often get left behind. As was later proven, when this tissue contains cancer-causing cells – a condition known as uterine sarcoma – use of a morcellator can “seed” the sarcomas in the body resulting in a rapid spread of malignant LMS.
What Was the Response to the Finding That Power Morcellators Cause Cancer?
While it was originally believed that 1 in 10,000 women who underwent hysterectomies were contracting cancer unexpectedly, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in 2014 that the actual rate was closer to 1 in 350. Since then, the FDA has issued strong warnings against the use of power morcellators, and has required Johnson & Johnson to include a “black box” warning on all morcellator packaging.
Not surprisingly, when it was discovered that power morcellators cause cancer, many victims (and, in the case of victims who had succumbed to their cancer, their family members) filed lawsuits seeking financial compensation. At Morrow & Sheppard LLP, our attorneys represent victims nationwide, and the lawyers handling power morcellator cases have proposed to consolidate their clients’ claims into multidistrict litigation.
Congress has also responded to the power morcellator crisis, with lawmakers passing intended to prevent future incidents. As bluntly stated by Representative Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) during discussions of the bill, “What happened with the power morcellator should never be allowed to happen again.”
What Should I Do if I Contracted LMS From a Power Morcellator?
If you or a family member has contracted LMS after undergoing a hysterectomy performed with a power morcellator, you should contact Morrow & Sheppard LLP immediately. With offices in Houston, TX, we are available to represent power morcellator victims nationwide. To speak with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers about your case, schedule a free, confidential consultation today.