Uterine fibroids are a common condition that affect as many as three out of every four women. Fibroids are most likely to develop during a woman’s child-bearing years and they form from the smooth muscular tissue of the uterus. Fibroids are often asymptomatic, but can cause pressure and heavy bleeding and can result in the uterus becoming distended if they grow too large. They are benign growths and generally do not develop into cancer.
Fibroids may be surgically removed, and the use of a morcellator is common as part of the removal process. A power morcellator may be used to break up the tissue so that removal through a smaller incision is possible. Unfortunately, in as many as one out of every 350 cases, growths believed to be fibroids were actually uterine sarcoma, which is a type of cancer. When the morcellator was utilized in women with uterine sarcoma, the cancerous tissue could spread throughout the pelvic region and throughout the abdomen. Prognosis in such cases is poor.
Patients who experienced this outcome after a morcellator was used have certain legal rights. A dmedical device attorney experienced in handling morcellator is best consulted. At the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC, we represent women who were harmed by the use of a power morcellator.Power Morcellators Present Risks to Patients
Patients should be warned of the risks associated with a medical procedure and should be given the opportunity to make an informed choice about their treatment options. Because patients were not alerted to the fact that morcellator use could cause metastases of cancer, patients were denied informed consent. The consequences of the spread of cancer can be deadly, and manufacturers need to be held accountable for the harm that women have experienced.
Lawsuits have already been filed against manufacturers of morcellators to seek compensation for harm caused by these dangerous products. Manufacturers include Johnson & Johnson and Wolf Corporation. Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon subsidiary, which produced morcellators, has also halted sales of the products until it is determined whether there is a safe way to use the medical devices in fibroid removal.
Other methods of treating fibroids do not carry the same risks associated with morcellator use. In fact, power morcellators may simply shorten the surgery time by about half-an-hour. For many patients, the minimal benefits of morcellator use thus do not outweigh the potential risks, especially as uterine sarcoma cannot be conclusively diagnosed until after the fibroids and tissue have been removed and a pathology report prepared.
Unfortunately, patients who already had laparoscopic hysterectomies with the use of a morcellator did not have the opportunity to make a choice about whether to take the risk of spreading cancer. Many of these patients have suffered irreparable harm.
Manufacturers may be responsible for compensating victims for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress and/or wrongful death if the use of this medical device caused death due to metastatic uterine cancer.