Morcellator. It’s a world that leaves a funny (as in “Eeww!”) feeling in your mouth. That’s nothing compared to what the medical instrument leaves in your body. Morcellation (shudders) can spread previously undiagnosed malignant cancer cells throughout the patients’ pelvic and abdominal cavities, which shortens the patients’ life expectancy. The first morecellator cancer suit settled recently for an undisclosed amount.
The suit, filed in 2014 in by Widower Scott B., against LiNA Medical, alleged that her aggressive uterine cancer was made worse by a power morcellator hysterectomy she had 11 months before her death.
The power morcellator has been a favorite of doctors for breaking up uterine fibroids and doing hysterectomies & myomectomies. It allows them to make smaller incisions, which aids recovery time. The problem with the popular device is that as it morcellates (almost chews) up the targeted tissue, if there is any cancer present it gets morcellated and spread throughout the area.
Scott’s suit alleged that there was no documented evidence, pre-morcellation, that his wife had “disseminated and/or metastatic cancer/disease.” However, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of uterine cancer seven days after the procedure.
She was 53 when she lost her battle with cancer, only eleven months later. According to the FDA, up to 1 in every 350 women may have undiagnosed uterine cancer that can be spread via morcellation. Scott’s case was scheduled for trial in November 2015. There are at least 20 other claims against manufacturers for failure to warn patients of this risk.
In June, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) received a petition to consolidate existing federal morcellator cancer suits into a multidistrict litigation (MDL). This would put all of the cases in front of one judge, allowing for more efficient pretrial proceedings. Lawyers will discuss the issue of an MDL at a hearing in October 2015.
Several U.S. hospitals and insurance companies have limited or banned using morcellators in gynecological procedures including hysterectomies and myomectomies.
As more morcellator cancer lawsuits alleging uterine cancer are filed, a growing number of insurance carriers and U.S. hospitals have either limited or totally banned the use of morcellators in gynecological surgeries including hysterectomy and myomectomy.