Did a doctor use a power morcellator during your hysterectomy or fibroid
removal surgery? If so, attorney Chris Mellino welcomes you to
contact our Cleveland office with any questions you may have.

Anesthesiologist Brings Morcellator Danger to Light

In October 2013, Dr. Amy Reed, an anesthesiologist and mother of six, underwent a
laparoscopic hysterectomy to have fibroids removed. As umm.edu has stated, “Fibroids
are the most common type of tumor found in female reproductive organs.”

Typically, the word ‘tumor’ sends a patient into a panic, said
WebMD. “But when it’s a fibroid tumor, experts say there is little
to fear.” In fact, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology told
the site’s writers, “There is virtually no threat of malignancy
— and there are a number of excellent treatment options, as well
as the option to do nothing at all — so there really is no reason
to worry.”

Unfortunately, that is no longer true for Reed, whose surgeon used a power
morcellator to shred her fibroids. During that hysterectomy, doctors discovered
leiomyosarcoma, which is “an aggressive soft tissue sarcoma derived
from smooth muscle cells typically of uterine, gastrointestinal or soft
tissue origin,” according to sarcomahelp.org. Morcellation “increased
the likelihood that the cancer would spread throughout her abdomen,”
The Wall Street Journal reported.

Reed told WSJ that it’s difficult to keep her fear under control
because, as a doctor, she knows about the worst that can happen.

She and her husband wrote a change.org petition that urges doctors to stop
using power morcellators or, at least, consider using a bag that will
prevent cancer cells from spreading. Currently, the petition states, doctors
aren’t using this bag because they don’t know about it, haven’t
been trained to use it, and “bag morcellation takes more time –
and time is money.”

Contemporary OB/GYN stated, “Strong consideration should also be
given to alternative specimen retrieval options that are associated with
decreased risk of retained specimen fragments or cellular seeding. In
particular, a focus on innovations in preoperative screening for uterine
sarcomas as well as advanced morcellating technology is critical to improve
patient outcomes.”

Reed’s petition calls out companies such as Johnson & Johnson’s
ETHICON, which suspended sales of its power morcellators in April, as
well as Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci Robot, which “does not
appear to have a readily available warning label advising against its
use to morcellate tumors with malignant potential inside the body.”