The perils of power morcellators

On the surface, a power morcellator is an intriguing and seemingly fantastic showcase of modern medical technology. The drill-like device is able to perform laparoscopic surgeries, such as hysterectomies and myomectomies, without being overly invasive, requiring a less than two centimeter incision, and reduces the patient’s recovery time and post-operative pain drastically.

A morcellator works by cutting large chunks of tissue, such as a uterus, into smaller chunks and then using suction to vacuum the flesh out of the body via its long tubular attachment. A majority of the devices were manufactured and distributed under the Johnson & Johnson umbrella through their subsidiary company, Ethicon.

Power morcellators may cause cancer

Unfortunately, these devices have been revealed to carry serious risks. Chiefly among them is the risk that they can actually cause the spread of benign and cancerous cells in men and women that can directly cause them to develop into various cancers, such as metastatic leiomyosarcoma (a uterine cancer) in women. The use of morcellators may have actually been the catalysts in some patients that resulted in their cancers.

Morcellators are especially dangerous if used in women undergoing hysterectomies. About 40 percent of hysterectomy cases occur because of uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous tumors that cause an enlarged uterus. These fibroids may be hiding undetected cancerous cells, which are then broken apart and spread throughout the body by the morcellator, which can cause the cells to grow into malignant tumors throughout the body.

The FDA issued a safety alert in 2014 discouraging the use of power morcellators, and Johnson & Johnson pulled the devices from the market the same year. However, this reactionary response did not help the hundreds of people who claim to have developed cancer or serious complications as a result of the use of power morcellators.

Johnson & Johnson trying to settle, more lawsuits likely

Plaintiffs against Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon argue that the companies knew about the potential risks of the devices but did not warn patients about them. Johnson & Johnson is currently seeking to settle dozens of cases involving people who have developed uterine cancers, and some of the plaintiffs have actually passed away from these cancers during the litigation process.

As awareness of the risks of power morcellators spread, more lawsuits seem likely, as any patient who underwent a procedure with a power morcellator may be entitled to financial compensation on the grounds of the company’s failure to warn about the risks of the product and the use of a defective product that led to their immediate pain and suffering.

If you or someone you love has developed any type of cancer after undergoing a procedure in which a power morcellator was used, you may have a good case to receive financial compensation, even if this procedure happened some time ago. The only way to know for sure is to call us for a free consultation to assess the individual details of your situation.

At Altman & Altman LLP, we have over 40 years of experience fighting on behalf of people who were seriously harmed or effected through forces outside of their control. A faulty medical procedure that may result in cancer in otherwise unhealthy people is simply unacceptable, and we will use whatever methods necessary to advocate for you.

Cancer has incredibly serious ramifications that are hard enough to go through without having to worry at the same time about finances. Let us fight to get you the money you need, and deserve.

Call us for a free consultation today at 617-492-3000 or toll-free at 800-481-6199. We are available 24/7.


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