According to a recent article published in The Wall Street Journal, Johnson & Johnson, which manufactures the majority of power morcellators (about 75 %), has been quietly working to settle cases involving the devices and the allegations that they are linked to the spread of uterine cancer.
So far the company has settled approximately 70 cases that gave been brought against it and is currently working to reach settlements in even more cases involving the devices. This comes on the heels of the consolidation of cases filed Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon Unit in U.S. District Court in the State of Kansas to be consolidated.
Power morcellators manufactured by Ethicon have been used by surgeons to grind up uterine tissue during hysterectomies and myomectomies during laparoscopic surgery.
The FDA estimates that for patients who have undergone surgery where a power morcellator was used, the number of those who have undetected has fallen from 1 in 10000 to 1 in 350. The figure is still being debated, however.
The use of power morcellators for hysterectomies to remove the uterus or in the removal of fibroid tumors using less invasive laparoscopy has been going on since the early 90’s. Public outcry following the procedure by patients who underwent the procedure and their family caused the federal government to investigate the issue. Even with the potential risks involved, some surgeons still use power morcellators instead of an open hysterectomy
Insurance companies which include Highmark and United Healthcare have said that they will not cover the use of morcellators during hysterectomies. Many hospitals have since stopped performing hysterectomies that utilize power morcellation.
In April of 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety communication regarding power morcellators. Johnson &Johnson suspended sales of the devices that same month and then withdrew the devices from the market completely just three months later in July of 2014. Johnson & Johnson is now facing an investigation by the FBI begun last year in order to determine what the company knew about the devices and the risks involved. Further, the Government Accountability Office has also announced that it plans to investigate how power morcellators were sold for such a long period of time before safety concerns were raised. Congress has also gotten involved in the issue and has petitioned the GAO to look into the regulatory clearance, marketing, and adverse event reporting that are connected to power morcellators.
Many women who underwent hysterectomies or procedures to remove uterine fibroids that used a power morcellator ended up causing the further spread of undetected cancer because of these surgical devices.
If you or a loved one has suffered due to the use of a power morcellator, you have rights. You may be facing a serious health crisis or you may have lost a loved one as a result. Perhaps such a tragic loss could have been prevented if doctors had chosen to approach the procedure differently
While the situation cannot be reversed, you may be entitled to financial recovery. Such financial compensation may be used to cover medical bills, cancer treatments, lost work as well as pain and suffering and wrongful death. Contact the law offices of John Foy & Associates to schedule a free consultation regarding your power morcellator case. Call us today at (404) 800-4635 to schedule your free consultation with Atlanta’s “Strong Arm Attorney.”