One of the first filed lawsuits in the laparoscopic power morcellator litigation settled early in July 2015 prior to going to trial. The manufacturer of the device in question in this lawsuit was LiNA Medical. This lawsuit involves a tragic story that unfortunately we are seeing is all too common in the morcellation litigation.
This case involved a wrongful death action by the husband of a woman who died from uterine sarcoma. Specifically, the decedent in this case underwent a hysterectomy where a laparoscopic morcellator manufactured by LiNA Medical was used. The morcellator is a tool that enables a small incision rather than a traditional hysterectomy. The tool uses pincers to pull fibroids and tissue into the spinning blade of the morcellator which grinds and tears the skin into tiny fragments. These fragments are then removed using a suction hose through the small incision. The idea behind the morcellator is that it is a minimally invasive procedure that results in a much faster recovery time. However, as we have seen with this litigation, it appears this convenience comes with real and hidden dangers.
The Problem: Undetected Sarcoma Spreads To Other Organs
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that 1 in 350 women have a condition called leiomyosarcoma, which is a form of cancer that is in the uterus and is very difficult to detect. This condition exists in the tissue of the fibroids and upon morcellation can be spread and attach to other organs. The spread of cancer can result in a rapid upstaging of sarcoma which in turn can lead to death. In this lawsuit which just settled, the decedent had no evidence of metastatic cancer prior to the procedure, however only two weeks after the procedure, she was diagnosed with cancer by her doctors. Tragically, the 53 year old died only 11 months after her hysterectomy.
In November 2014, the FDA warned against the use of the morcellator in myomectomies (removal of fibroids) and hysterectomies (removal of uterus) for the treatment of fibroids.
The settlement with LiNA is a confidential settlement, so we do not know how much the manufacturer settled the lawsuit for. At the moment there are approximately 20 cases on file across the country and we are expecting a JPML hearing in the coming months for consolidation of the litigation in to a multidistrict litigation group.
If you or a loved one share the facts of this tragic story, you should speak with a lawyer immediately. The statute of limitations may be a barr ot recovery for you. You should speak with a lawyer handling these power morcellator lawsuits immediately to preserve your rights.