New Jersey Family Claims Morcellator Spread Mother's Cancer

A father and two daughters are named as the plaintiffs in a power morcellator case in New Jersey. Power morcellators, a surgical tool which has been used by surgeons during laparoscopic surgeries for many years, have recently been placed under scrutiny by both the medical community and the public.
laparoscopic surgery The morcellator is a long hollow tube through which cutting jaws can be placed. The surgeon inserts the morcellator into the body cavity through a small incision and uses it to cut and shred tissue that is then removed in tiny pieces. However, surgeons were generally unaware that as they cut through tissue, the device was also disseminating cells of that tissue to other areas of the body.

This dissemination of cells is now suspected to have lead to the progression of uterine cancer and, in some cases, death, in numerous women. These women all underwent a laparoscopic hysterectomy or myomectomy to treat uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids are growths in the uterus which can become quite large, leading to irregular menstrual bleeding and pain.

While the majority of these fibroids are benign, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently postulated that 1 in 350 women who undergo these gynecological surgeries also has undetected uterine cancer.

New Jersey Family Alleges Morcellator Spread Mother’s Uterine Cancer

A new power morcellator lawsuit, filed on September 16th, 2015 in the Superior Court of New Jersey Law Division: Camden County under civil action number 003518, alleges that a mother died after her uterine cancer was spread by a morcellator.

Her husband and two daughters are named as the plaintiffs in the complaint. They have chosen to pursue a lawsuit against Ethicon, a subdivision of Johnson & Johnson, a power morcellator manufacturer. The complaint states that the deceased underwent a gynecological surgery on December 26th, 2012, and a Gynecare Power Morcellator was used to cut through her uterine fibroids. Unbeknownst to her family and doctors, one of these fibroids contained leiomyosarcoma (LMS).

The lawsuit alleges that “In cutting, shredding, and fragmenting the uterus and fibroids while still within the deceased, the Gynecare Power Morcellator disseminated and seeded LMS cancer throughout her abdominal cavity and causing and accelerating the metastases and spread her cancer, worsening her long-term prognosis and the natural course of her cancer.”

Despite fighting the cancer with aggressive chemotherapy treatments, she passed away less than a year later on September 16th, 2013.

This lawsuit is just one of many filed against Ethicon. In 2014, Ethicon decided to voluntarily withdraw all of their morcellators from the market and also sent letters around the globe, urging doctors to stop using the product.

About Laurence Banville

Attorney Contributor:

Laurence P. Banville, Esq. is the managing partner of Banville Law. He is a regular contributor on several topics including negligent security cases, child sexual abuse and Dram Shop and liquor liability cases.

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