When a woman requires a hysterectomy or fibroid removal, a power morcellator may be used to shred the uterus—or uterine fibroids—into smaller pieces, making removal easier. This is considered a minimally invasive surgery type, and for this reason is often preferred over other methods. However, the use of a power morcellator during a hysterectomy can also be very dangerous; if any cancer cells are present in the uterus at the time of removal, the morcellator can distribute these cells throughout the abdominal cavity, leading to the rapid spread of cancer.
Power Morcellators and Spread of Cancer
When a power morcellator comes in contact with a cancerous tumor, it shreds the tumor, causing the cells to be dispersed throughout the abdominal cavity. In turn, the (undiagnosed) cancer is spread, and can lead to the rapid decline of the woman. In some cases, the type of cancer that is spread is a particularly aggressive kind, which can lead to death. In 2014, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration issued a warning about power morcellators, reading that if power morcellators are used in women with unsuspected uterine sarcoma, there is risk that “the procedure will spread the cancerous tissue within the abdomen and pelvis, significantly worsening the patient’s likelihood of long-term survival.”
Liability for Cancer Spread by the Use of a Power Morcellator
Those who may be held liable for harm caused by the use of a power morcellator include a morcellator’s manufacturer or/and the doctor who used the morcellator in surgery. A claim against the former may allege that:
- The device was designed defectively;
- The device is inherently dangerous;
- The device was not properly tested; and
- Dangers of the device were not properly disclosed to doctors and patients.
Furthermore, it may be asserted that the dangerous devices should have been recalled, but were not.
How an Attorney Can Help You
The spread of cancer is one of the most concerning medical maladies that there is. When the spread of cancer would have been preventable but for the use of a power morcellator during surgery, you may have the right to pursue damages by filing a claim directly against the negligent party. At Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC, our pharmaceutical litigation attorneys are ready to meet with you to discuss your claim in more detail. Call us today to get started.