Power Morcellators Used Less Frequently By Surgeons, University of Michigan Study Shows


Morcellation Cancer Lawsuits Allege Power Morcellators Have The Potential To Spread Undiagnosed Cancer, Including Leiomyosarcoma, And That Morcellator Manufacturers Failed To Warn Doctors And Their Patients About The Cancer Risks Associated With Their Devices

power-morcellator-lawsuit-southern-med-lawA study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan has found surgeons are performing gynecological surgeries without using laparoscopic power morcellators, which lawsuits claim spreads leiomyosarcoma and other undetected cancer in women undergoing the procedures. The study suggests that doctors are opting for open-abdomen hysterectomies rather than the once-popular small-incisions made with power morcellators, according to a Philly.com report. In the September issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, U-M researchers wrote that doctors should discuss with their patients the risks of abdominal surgeries, which may include infections, blood clots and hospital readmissions. In May, the journal published a poll of minimally invasive surgeons that found the doctors used larger incisions and less use of morcellators in surgeries.
[philly.com/philly/health/20150920_Michigan_hysterectomy_study_examines_end_of_morcellator_use.html, September 20, 2015]

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) is scheduled to hold a hearing Oct 1st to answer a request to transfer all federally filed power morcellator cancer lawsuits to the U.S. District Court, District of Kansas. Six plaintiffs who filed morcellator cancer lawsuits asked the JPML to consolidate 22 pending lawsuits that all allege laparoscopic power morcellation has the potential to spread undetected cancer in women, including a rare and aggressive form called leiomyosarcoma. Morcellator manufacturers, Gyrus ACMI, Johnson & Johnson, Richard Wolf GmbH and Karl Storz GmbH, have filed separate briefs asking the JPML to deny the request. (In Re: Power Morcellator Litigation, MDL No. 2652)

“Having filed the first federal morcellation cancer lawsuit in the country, Southern Med Law is well aware of the legal and medical issues raised by power morcellators use in gynecological surgeries,” said Dr. François Blaudeau, an attorney and a practicing obstetrician/ gynecologist. “While the University of Michigan notes that complications may arise in open-abdomen hysterectomies, it also emphasizes that doctors are using morcellators less frequently.”

In …. and FDA warning on power morcellators In wake of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) warning about laparoscopic power morcellators, Southern Med Law notes that doctors and hospitals are no longer using the medical devices to perform a hysterectomy, which removes the uterus, or a myomectomy, which removes uterine fibroids. Additionally, the nation’s largest health care insurers, among them UnitedHealth and Aetna Inc., have either stopped or restricted coverage of surgical procedures involving power morcellation due to the cancer risks associated with the devices.

Power Morcellator Lawsuits and Settlement

In July, Dr. Blaudeau settled the first federally filed power morcellation lawsuit involving Donna Burkhart, a 53-year-old Pennsylvania woman who died of disseminated leiomyosarcoma in February 2013. According to the lawsuit, Donna Burkhart developed the disease after undergoing a power morcellator 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 filed on behalf of Donna’s husband, Scott Burkhart. Case No. 5:14-cv-1557, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania) Southern Med Law is currently representing a Michigan woman who developed cancer after undergoing a power morcellator hysterectomy in July 2013. The morcellation cancer complaint names Karl Storz and its subsidiaries as defendants. (Case No. BC588075, Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County).

According to the FDA, laparoscopic power morcellators have spinning blades that shred or grind uterine tissue into fragments so the tissue can be removed through small incisions in the abdomen. The tissue, however, may contain undiagnosed cancer, including leiomyosarcoma, which can spread to various parts of the body. In April 2014, the FDA discouraged surgeons from using power morcellators to perform hysterectomies or myomectomies because of the cancer risks involved. However, in November of the same year, the FDA issued a stronger power morcellator warning when it stated that the devices should be avoided in the vast majority of women who require hysterectomy or fibroid removal.
[fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm393576.htm, April 17, 2014]
[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
Phone: 205-547-5525

Fax: 205-547-5526


Medical Negligence/MedicalDevice/Pharma/Qui Tam

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