J&J Begins To Settle Power Morcellator Lawsuits

Rick Plezia March 23, 2016 Defective Medical Devices

On March 18, 2016, pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson reportedly settled approximately 70 morcellator lawsuits alleging its power morcellator devices used in hysterectomies and other medical procedures caused the spread of undetected cancer.

What is a Power Morcellator?

A power morcellator is a surgical tool that uses small blades to break tissue into small fragments so they can be removed. While power morcellators can be used in many parts of the body, using these medical devices became popular as a less invasive removal method for uterine fibroids in women undergoing hysterectomies and myomectomies.

Because power morcellators are designed to break up large growths, they also pose the risk of breaking up cancerous growths. If all of the broken down pieces of cancerous growth are not removed from the uterus (which is almost impossible to do), they can travel to other parts of the body and cause the cancer to spread.

Black Box Warning

In April 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement advising physicians not to use power morcellators to remove uterine fibroids. Because cancerous growths cannot always be distinguished from benign growths, using power morcellators greatly increases the risk of spreading cancer. After the FDA’s statement, J&J pulled its power morcellators from market, and by the end of 2014, the FDA had placed a black box warning on the device, the most stringent warning the federal agency places on a medication or device before forcing a recall.

In October 2015, federal lawsuits alleging that power morcellators did not adequately warn patients of the risk of spreading cancer were consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. J&J’s decision to begin settling power morcellator lawsuits so soon after the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated the claims is a good sign for plaintiffs. Resolving these matters will help women across the country get compensation for their injuries and compensation the families of wrongful death victims.

Plezia & Associates Can Help With Power Morcellator Lawsuits

The FDA estimates that 1 in 350 women who undergo fibroid removal have undetected cancerous growths that if broken up with a power morcellator, could greatly increase the risk of spreading cancer. With over 200,000 women undergoing hysterectomies each year, thousands of women are at risk.

If you or someone you love had a hysterectomy or myomectomy and a power morcellator was used in the procedure, the use of that device may have caused cancer growth. If you or a loved one developed cancer anywhere in your body after a hysterectomy or myomectomy, you may have a legal claim. Contact Richard J. Plezia & Associates today for a free consultation and to discuss your case.