Southern Med Law Is Currently Representing Numerous Women In Power Morcellator Lawsuit Complaints Across The Country After They Developed Uterine Cancer Following A Hysterectomy Using Robotic Power Morcellation
Despite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) warning over power morcellators’ potential to spread undetected cancer cells, Southern Med Law has learned that Health Care Service Corp. (HCSC) has decided to continue covering hysterectomies (removal of the uterus) and myomectomies (removal of uterine fibroids) involving power morcellation. This comes as the FBI has announced it’s investigation into Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon’s power morcellator device and the purported cancer risks associated with the robotic hysterectomy procedure. Unlike Health Care Service Corp., other large insurers have restricted power morcellator surgeries citing similar contentions that the robotic hysterectomy device has the potential to spread uterine cancer or metastatic leiomyosarcoma cancer. An HCSC spokeswoman said the company will continue to monitor issues surrounding power morcellators and make adjustments as necessary. There are currently 22 power morcellator lawsuits pending an MDL in courts across the country.
[wsj.com/articles/hysterectomy-device-will-be-covered-by-insurer-despite-danger-of-uterine-cancers-spread-1433891661, June 9, 2015]
“We are disappointed that the nation’s fourth largest health insurer has decided to go against the trend set by other large health insurers that have suspended or restricted coverage of uterine morcellation surgeries because of the cancer risks posed by the morcellators,” says Dr. François Blaudeau, founder of Southern Med Law, who represents plaintiffs in power morcellation lawsuits.
Southern Med Law aggressively advocates for power morcellation victims and their families because Dr. Blaudeau, is an attorney and a practicing obstetrician/ gynecologist. Dr. Blaudeau filed the first morcellation lawsuit in the United States that involves a 53-year-old Pennsylvania woman who died in 2013 of metastatic leiomyosarcoma cancer, one year after having a robot-assisted hysterectomy with uterine morcellation. (Case No. 5:14-cv-1557, U.S. District Court, District of Pennsylvania)
The law firm notes that Highmark Inc., one of the largest Blue CrossBlue Shield plans in the country, was the first health care insurer to announce that it would halt coverage of morcellation use in gynecological procedures. The health insurer stopped coverage in its service area of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware in September, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The law firm also learned that UnitedHealth, the nation’s largest health insurer, now requires doctors to obtain authorization from before performing most types of hysterectomies. Similarly, Aetna, the nation’s third largest insurer, will no longer cover morcellation use in a myomectomy and hysterectomy “in most circumstances because the safety and efficacy of this approach has not been demonstrated.” Aetna now requires doctors to “precertify” a myomectomy or hysterectomy and is encouraging doctors to talk to their patients about the risks and benefits of uterine morcellation and its alternatives.
[wsj.com/articles/health-insurer-to-stop-covering-uterine-procedure-1406999176, August 2, 2014]
[wsj.com/articles/biggest-u-s-health-insurer-tightens-rules-on-hysterectomy-coverage-1424990877, February 26, 2015]
[news.aetna.com/policy-use-power-morcellator-uterine-fibroid-removal/, May 5, 2015]
As stated in court documents, a laparoscopic power morcellator is a surgical device used for cutting, shredding and removing the uterus or uterine fibroid through small incisions in the abdomen. According to court records, the removal of the tissue spreads undetected cancer cells through the abdomen. Court documents indicate that power morcellation lawsuits have been filed on behalf of women, or their survivors, who have been diagnosed with cancer or died, allegedly due to having a hysterectomy or myomectomy in which power morcellation was used. The morcellation lawsuits purport that power morcellator manufacturers failed to warn health care providers and their patients about the cancer risks associated with their surgical device.
About Southern Med Law
Southern Med Law is a patient and consumer advocacy organization providing legal representation to the victims of negligent personal injuries, medical malpractice, dangerous drugs, faulty medical devices and defective products. Led by Dr. François Blaudeau, an attorney and a practicing obstetrician/ gynecologist, the legal staff at Southern Med Law possesses a deep understanding of the complex medical and legal questions at issue in all manner of product liability and personal injury claims. They’re not afraid to take on the nation’s largest corporations in their pursuit of justice, and are committed to ensuring that all victims have access to the type of aggressive legal advocacy that assures success.
Southern Med Law
Southern Institute for Medical and Legal Affairs
2224 1st Ave., North
Birmingham, AL 35203
Phone: (205) 547-5525
Fax: (205) 547-5526