Each year around 600,000 women undergo a hysterectomy in the US alone. This relatively safe procedure is generally done by opening up the abdomen, removing the uterus, and then closing the incision. Since the recovery is a painful 4 to 6 weeks, many women have begun to look for alternatives to completely opening up the body. A laparoscopic procedure, done with the use of a power morcellator, seems like it would be a good alternative since it reduces the recovery time down to just 2 weeks. These devices, however, are not entirely safe.
What is a Power Morcellator?
A power morcellator, or a morcellation device, is essentially cutting blades attached to the end of a hollow tube. A small incision is made through with the device is inserted. With the use of lights and a small camera, the surgeon can find his way to the uterus to remove the offending tissues. The morcellator will chop up the uterus and extract it through the tube. It is a quick and easy procedure that helps the patient to heal faster than if the abdomen was completely opened. But it isnt safe to use, and they have led to many morcellation lawsuits.
Risk of Spreading Cancer
As a woman ages her uterus does as well. The smooth muscles that line the organ often develop fibroids. These benign tumors often go undetected, and generally cause mild discomfort. However, there are times when they become cancerous and must be removed to protect the rest of the area from the spreading cancer.
Removal of the cancerous fibroids is quick with a morcellator. However, it does not remove all of the offending tissue. During the cutting and grinding process, pieces of tissue are flung around the uterus and abdomen region. If cancerous cells are also flung around the area, they can become aggravated, and start to grow rapidly.
A patient that goes in for a routine hysterectomy, expecting an end to her discomfort, can soon find herself diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer. She is left battling for her life.
Amy Reeds Story
That is exactly what happened to Amy Reed. This young anesthesiologist was a rising star in the Boston hospital scene. She became well known for helping to treat victims of the Boston Marathon bombing; she was respected and becoming quite famous in the area.
During her hysterectomy it was discovered that she had a malignant cancerous fibroid. It was removed with the help of a power morcellator, but didnt clear up any questions of cancer. Instead, Amy is now fighting for her life due to the spread of the cancer throughout her abdomen. You can read more about her story on the Wall Street Journal.
The FDA originally approved morcellation devices in the spring of 1995. However, since recent studies have shown that they are not safe, but rather show that the risk of spreading cancer is significantly higher than previously stated, the FDA has announced that they discourage the use of these devices.
What to Do
If you have undergone a hysterectomy, either full or partial, and you have subsequently been diagnosed with rapidly spreading cancer, you may be able to take part in a morcellation lawsuit. Contact a personal injury attorney from Arentz Law Group P.C. to schedule a time for your free consultation. There is no need to suffer at the hands of those who manufacture these dangerous devices.