Boston Doctor Waves off Power Morcellator Threats

Published on September 9, 2014 by Sandy Liebhard

A Boston doctor who began campaigning to end power morcellator surgery after his wife’s uterine cancer diagnosis says he is “not fazed” by a manufacturer’s recent threat to sue him for damages, according to Medscape Medical News.

An interview with Dr. Hooman Noorchasm, MD, was published on September 5th, and conveyed his confidence that “no judge in his or her right mind” would take the Karl Storz Group’s potential case. “Let them sue me,” he told Medscape.

Among other things, claims threatened by the power morcellator manufacturer last month include Noorchasm’s alleged “defaming” of its Rotocut device, which was used the fibroid removal surgery that preceded his wife’s illness. “We will no longer tolerate unfounded and unproven allegations such as the ones contained in your previous emails and we will hold you responsible,” the company said in its August warning. We “would not hesitate to take appropriate legal actions to protect our good name and our rights.”

Since the uterine cancer diagnosis of his wife, Dr. Amy Reed, Noorchasm has spearheaded a campaign to end power morcellator surgery, raising awareness about their potential to spread cancer cells outside the uterus and into the peritoneal cavity. The couple’s petition, which asks the federal government to institute a ban on this type of surgery, included more than 84,340 virtual signatures on September 9th.

Power Morcellator Lawsuits Filed, FDA Takes Notice of Possible Dangers

Amid the Noorchasms’ efforts to raise public awareness about morcellation dangers, a number of power morcellator lawsuits have been filed by women who were diagnosed were uterine cancer after undergoing this type of surgery. These cases are currently pending in courts throughout the U.S. Federal regulators have also voiced their concerns to the public.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health warning in April 2014 about their possible association with uterine cancer, and estimated that 1 in every 350 women having fibroids removed may have undiagnosed uterine cancer. Cancer cells may not be diagnosed until after fibroids are removed and biopsied, the FDA said.

Following the federal warning, Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit issued a sales suspension on its power morcellators until regulators could adequately investigate safety risks of the devices. In July 2014, the company took that decision a step further in a “worldwide market withdrawal” announcement that asked doctors to return morcellators they had already purchased.

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