Power Morcellators are surgical devices which can be used in minimally invasive laparoscopic surgeries, including hysterectomies and myomectomies. During the procedure the Power Morcellator can divide tissue into smaller pieces or fragments so that it can be more easily removed from the internal surgical site. Ethicon is currently the largest producer of Power Morecellators but has suspended their sale of the product pending further study.
The Power Morecellator is frequently used to divide tissue during minimally invasive laparoscopic surgeries, such as a laparoscopic hysterectomy or myomectomy. Recently, however, the FDA has issued a warning about the use of the Power Morcellator. Although the device has performed sufficiently for many women, the FDA has determined that there are a small percentage of women, who have unsuspected uterine sarcoma, who may have an increased chance of spreading the cancer tissue into other regions of the body if the Power Morcellator is used.
The percentage of women at risk, however, is small. In fact, the FDA suggests it could be as low as one in three-hundred and fifty, but for these women the spread of their cancer is likely to lower the patient’s long-term survival rates. The FDA also notes there is not a sound method for determining which women may be at risk. Medical professionals are now encouraged to seek alternative surgical options for the removal of fibroids. The FDA also recommended that the manufacturers of the Power Morcellator include stronger and more detailed information about the risk of their products on their product labels.
Ethicon, Inc. was incorporated as a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson in 1949. The move was made to help Johnson & Johnson increase and diversify their current product line. Ethicon is currently located in Somerville, New Jersey, where it employees more than 11,000 employs who serve and sell products in fifty-two countries across the world.
Started in 1915 by George Merson, the company originally was located in Edinburgh and focused on the manufacturing, packaging and sterilizing of catgut, silk and nylon sutures. During World War II, Ethicon specialized in manufacturing wound closures and surgical sutures for soldiers, capturing the lion’s share of business with an estimated 70% of the sales for this product by the end of the war. Ethicon continues to manufacture and market a wide variety of innovative surgical products including Monocryl, Vicryl, Ethilon, Prolene, drains and reservoirs, gastric bands, surgical stapling products, wound closure products, and devices for uterine and pelvic surgeries. Other products sold by Ethicon help in a variety of other medical specialties including emergency medicine, bariatric surgeries, cardiovascular surgeries, colorectal surgery, gynecological surgery and ophthalmology.
Doctors who performed a myomectomy or hysterectomy using a Power Morcellator should have notified women of the risks associated with the procedure. If a woman was not notified of the risks and she had uterine sarcoma, which was unwittingly spread to other areas of the body, the doctor may be held liable for not providing adequate care. Lawsuits may also be filed against manufacturers of the Power Morecellator if it is found they failed in their duty to ensure the Power Morcellator was safe. For example, if the manufacturers of the Power Morecellator had knowledge of potential dangers and failed to warn the public they could be liable for patient injuries under a product liability claim.
Some lawsuits which have been filed also suggest the manufacturer of this product did not warn doctors or patients about certain safety issues. Although these claims have not been substantiated and the outcome is uncertain, courts may eventually find that either the design of the Power Morcellator was insufficient or that the manufacturer failed to provide adequate warnings about the safe use of this product. Finally, if you have had a loved one who has died from cancer after their doctor used the Power Morecellator during a myomectomy or hysterectomy you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim and receive compensation for medical costs, lost future wages or funeral expenses.