Uterine Cancer Lawsuits Purport That Power Morcellator Manufacturers Failed To Disclose That Their Medical Devices Have The Potential To Spread Undetected Cancer, Including Leiomyosarcoma, A Rare And Aggressive Form Of Cancer.
Filings of morcellation cancer lawsuits are continuing at a steady rate since complaints against Ethicon Inc., were consolidated by a federal judicial panel in October. There are currently 27 morcellation cancer complaints pending but that number should rise when the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) updates its statistics next week. The complaints allege that Ethicon failed to disclose that its laparoscopic power morcellators have the potential to spread undetected uterine cancer, including leiomyosarcoma, in women undergoing a hysterectomy or removal of uterine fibroids.
In October, the JPML transferred all federally filed uterine cancer lawsuit claims against Ethicon to the U.S. District Court, District of Kansas. The federal panel took the action because of the similar allegations contained in the power morcellator lawsuits against Ethicon. The JPML, however, denied a request to consolidate all federally filed complaints against power morcellator makers Gyrus ACMI, Richard Wolf GmbH and Karl Storz GmbH. Although these companies face common allegations, the judicial panel stated that the differences in the manufacturers’ development, testing, warnings and marketing of their products “will predominate over the common issues.” (In Re: Power Morcellator Products Liability Litigation – MDL No. 2652)
Uterine cancer detected after power morcellator procedures is a growing concern among patients, medical professionals, politicians and activists who are calling for a ban on the power morcellators. Southern Med Law was the first law firm to file a morcellation cancer lawsuit in a U.S. federal court in 2014. The power morcellator complaint involved a 53-year-old women who died from leiomyosarcoma after undergoing a robot-assisted hysterectomy in March 2012. A confidential settlement was reached with morcellator manufacturers, LiNA Medical APS, Kebomed AB & LiNA Medical US, which were named as defendants in the lawsuit for an undisclosed amount. (Case No. 5:14-cv-1557, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
“We have been in the legal forefront of morcellator cancer litigation and continue to vigorously represent our clients who have suffered from the effects of these medical devices,” says Dr. Blaudeau.
Southern Med Law is also involved in other uterine cancer morcellation lawsuits against Ethicon. The Firm believes morcellator makers knew about the potential cancer risk associated with their medical devises but did not disclose this information to doctors and their patients.
Laparoscopic power morcellators are used in surgeries to remove the uterus (hysterectomy) and to remove benign uterine fibroid tumors (myomectomy). The morcellator’s spinning blades grind the fibroids into fragments so that the pieces can be removed through small incisions in the abdomen. Undetected cancer cells can hide within the fibroids. The cancer cells can travel to various parts of the body if fragments are implanted in the abdomen and pelvic area or attach themselves to surrounding organs.
Power morcellators come with a black box warning now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered the additional labeling in November 2014. The federal regulatory agency directed power morcellator manufacturers to place a warning on the labels of their products that the devices have the potential to spread uterine sarcoma and other cancer cells if they are present at the time of surgery. The FDA also advised against the use of power morcellators in the majority of women who require a myomectomy and hysterectomy. The FDA has estimated that 1 in 352 women with fibroids actually have undiagnosed uterine sarcoma, while 1 in 498 has leiomyosarcoma, a more aggressive form of the cancer.
[fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm424443.htm, November 24, 2014]
About Southern Med Law and Filing A Power Morcellation Lawsuit
Southern Med Law is a full service law firm representing victims of negligence, personal injuries, medical malpractice, dangerous drugs, faulty medical devices and defective products. Led by Dr. François Blaudeau, an attorney and a practicing obstetrician/ gynecologist, and the legal staff at Southern Med Law possesses a deep understanding of the complex medical and legal questions at issue in all manner of power morcellators. They are not afraid to take on the manufacturers to make them accountable and enable all of their clients to have the aggressive legal representation they deserve.
Southern Med Law
François M. Blaudeau, MD JD FACHE FCLM Esquire
2224 1st Avenue North
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
Medical Negligence/MedicalDevice/Pharma/Qui Tam