Morcellators are a popular treatment option for removing uterine fibroids. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings about these dangerous and defective medical devices. Some have caused the spread of cancer cells – leading to serious patient harm – in some women. If you want to file a claim for a morcellation cancer lawsuit, talk to Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorneys.
What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumors that develop in the uterus. Usually appearing during child-bearing years, uterine fibroids are almost always innocuous and are common. The Mayo Clinic suggests that as many as three out of every four women develop uterine fibroids. Despite the lack of harm that uterine fibroids pose, some healthcare providers believe that removing the fibroids is advantageous. One of the most popular devices for treating and removing uterine fibroids is a power morcellator.
How a Power Morcellator Works
Doctors and their patients prefer power morcellators for a number of reasons: the medical devices are relatively non-invasive, are fast and effective, lead to less pain, and leave little or no scarring.
A morcellator works by first mincing up the uterine fibroid tissue/tumor and sucking it out through a hollow cylinder. While the use of a morcellator can be an effective surgical technique for the removal of certain tissues, it also poses large risks.
The Risks of a Power Morcellator
The nature of a morcellator is that it chops up pieces of tissue into tiny pieces prior to extraction. As such, one of the biggest risks of using a morcellator is that pieces of tissue will escape through the pelvic cavity of a woman’s body, leading to harm later on – sometimes months, or even years, later.
Even more serious is when the pieces of tissue that a morcellator chops up and spreads around the body contain cancerous cells. While the majority of uterine fibroids are benign, as many as one in 400 to one in 1,000 cases are cancerous, according to a March 17, 2014 article published in The New York Times. Because there is no way to tell if a fibroid is cancerous prior to removal – or if there are other cancerous cells within in a woman’s uterus – a woman who undergoes morcellation of the uterus may at serious risk of having cancer spread through her body.
A November 2014 news release published by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration states that the use of a morcellator during fibroid surgery may “spread cancer and decrease the long-term survival of patients.”
Informed Consent Violations
Many women who have suffered from cancer spreading through their bodies following fibroid surgery in which a morcellator was used were not informed of the risks the use of a morcellator posed prior to surgery. As such, these women’s rights regarding informed consent – or the right to know all of the serious risks of a procedure prior to consenting to it – were violated.
Some women who have suffered harm due to morcellator complications have filed defective medical device lawsuits against the manufacturer of the morcellators used. Others have filed medical malpractice lawsuits against the doctors who performed the surgery. If you have had cancer spread through your body at a rapid rate due to the use of a morcellator, an attorney can help to determine if a morcellation cancer lawsuit is necessary.
Can an attorney help me if I’ve been harmed by a morcellator?
An attorney can be a very important resource if you suffered morcellator complications and would like to discuss your options for recovery. At Cordisco & Saile LLC, our defective medical device attorneys can walk you through everything that you need to know about how to file a claim for damages and what you’ll have to prove in court. If you’d like to schedule a free case review, call our offices today at 215-642-2335 or contact us online.