In Philadelphia, two new lawsuits have been filed alleging connection between power morcllators and the spread of uterine cancer.
Two women have filed complaints in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Thursday, May 14, 2015, against Olympus Corporation and its subsidiaries.* Plaintiffs Betty Dobson and Anita Whittaker each allege that the use of a Laparoscopic Power Morcellator during a gynecological surgery caused the spread of cancerous cells throughout their bodies.
Both Plaintiffs allege that Olympus reasonably should have known of the dangers and risks associated with the use of its power morcellators during uterine surgery and that Defendants misrepresented to the public and to the medical community that the PKSTM PlasmaSORDTM Bipolar Morcellator used on each Plaintiff was safe to use for laparoscopic gynecologic surgery.
The lawsuits points out that there were medical journals and published reports dating back more than 20 years, discussing the high risks of morcellated fragments of unsuspected cancerous cells being spread to surrounding organs as a result of the use of power morcellators. Although these were available to the defendants for years before the plaintiffs’ surgery, the Olympus Defendants failed to design their Laparoscopic Power Morcellators in a manner that would eliminate this life-threatening risk, plaintiffs claim.
In April and again in November of 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued warnings against using Laparoscopic Power Morcellators in the removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) or fibroids (myomectomy) and further stated that the use of Laparoscopic Power Morcellators during such surgeries could increase the risk of spreading unsuspected cancerous tissue and significantly worsen the patient’s likelihood of long-term survival.
Pennsylvania Senator Robert Casey Jr. voiced concern for the risks associated with the use of power morcellators during gynecological surgeries and stated that “the increasing reports about the potential dangers from power morcellators are troubling and raise serious questions about this device.” In a letter to Karen Ignagni, President of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Senator Casey observed, “There is increasing evidence that the use of these devices during hysterectomies to treat uterine fibroids (an otherwise benign condition) can spread certain types of uterine cancer, known as sarcomas, throughout the abdomen during surgery. While women are examined and tested for potential uterine cancers before such surgery, some sarcomas simply cannot be detected. By spreading the cancer beyond the uterus, the procedure can dramatically advance the stage of the cancer, and significantly reduces the patient’s chance of surviving the cancer.”
Both Betty Dobson and Anita Whittaker are represented by Sean Tracey, Rebecca King and Andrew Rubenstein of Tracey & Fox and Rosemary Pinto of Feldman & Pinto P.C.
The experienced defective medical device attorneys at Tracey & Fox are currently providing free consultations for patients who underwent morcellator procedures and were then diagnosed with uterine cancer. For more information on case eligibility, call 713-495-2333.
*(1) Betty Dobson v. Gyrus Acmi LP et al, Cause No.: 150401310; (2) Anita Whittaker v. Gyrus Acmi LP et al, Cause No.: 150401312, Both filed in the Court of Common Pleas for Philadelphia County