More than 12,700 people have voted to ban power morcellator surgery in the U.S., by way of a petition that warns of its potential to spread uterine sarcoma and other cancers throughout the abdominal cavity.
According to the Change.org petition’s website, at least 12,749 signatures are now included on a petition created on behalf of a Boston woman diagnosed with stage four uterine leiomyosarcoma after a fibroid removal surgery last October. The petition created by her husband continues to raise national attention on the dangers of uterine morcellation.
Concerns continued to raise attention in April 2014, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) publicly advised doctors against incorporating the device in laparoscopic hysterectomy and fibroid removal surgeries. Among other things, the federal agency’s alert estimated that 1 out of every 350 women having fibroids removed may have undiagnosed uterine sarcoma and other cancer cells that are likely to only be discovered after the fibroids are removed and biopsied. These types of cancers may be serious, and potentially diminish a woman’s chances of long-term survival, the FDA indicated, before going on to say that they planned to delve into the issue further at a summer meeting with its Obstetrics & Gynecology Devices Panel.
That meeting took place on July 10th and 11th, where a group of panelists was divided on whether power morcellators should remain on the market, or if they posed significant danger to women. The Panel’s fifteen members could not reach a definitive decision on the issue, but agreed that patients should be made aware of risks prior to surgery, and even possibly sign a consent form signifying that they were adequately warned about the procedure by doctors. A number of power morcellator lawsuit filings similarly allege that women are inadequately warned about side effects associated with this surgical tool.
According to a Boston Globe report, more than a dozen women and their families delivered heart-wrenching testimonies about their power morcellator experiences, many of which allegedly ended in death from cancer.
Court documents indicate that several morcellator lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. on behalf of patients who allege morcellator-related complications. In one such case now pending in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the husband of a 53-year old woman filed a claim in February that alleged wrongful death caused by a device she was exposed to less than a year earlier.