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First Morcellator Lawsuits Filed by Women with Cancer

May 7, 2014 — A federal lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a woman who died of cancer after she had a hysterectomy using the LiNA Xcise laparoscopic power morcellator. The complaint accuses LiNA Medical of failing to warn surgeons about the danger of spreading uterine cancer when a morcellator grinds up fibroids in laparoscopic surgery.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Donna Burkhart, a woman from Reading, Pennsylvania. The LiNA morcellator was used during her hysterectomy in March 2012. According to the complaint, she was never warned about the risk of seeding undiagnosed sarcoma throughout her abdomen. She died less than a year later of metastatic leiomyosarcoma, a rare but aggressive uterine cancer.

Ethicon Endo Surgery Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, has also been hit with a lawsuit involving morcellators. The lawsuit was filed by Brenda Leuzzi, a 43-year old mother who was promised a minimally-invasive procedure with a short recovery. A morcellator was used in her fibroid-removal surgery in September 2012. “It was the biggest mistake of my life,” she says.

Leuzzi now has stage-4 uterine cancer and is currently undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy. According to her lawsuit:

“Early investigations into the actions of Ethicon Endo Surgery indicate that there was knowledge of this issue relating to dissemination of cancer and that potential safety solutions including the deployment of a ballistic reinforced bag to avoid spillage of unsuspected cancer cells were available to the company but were not provided as part of the product sold to hospitals.”

A growing number of hospitals are restricting the use of laparoscopic power morcellators, which the FDA advises against using for hysterectomies or fibroid-removal surgery. About 1 in 350 women who have a hysterectomy to remove fibroids actually has undiagnosed cancer.

Normally, uterine cancer can often be removed surgically. However, when a morcellator is used without a protective bag, it can leave behind tiny pieces of tissue, essentially “seeding” the cancer throughout a woman’s abdomen and pelvis. This significantly worsens her long-term prognosis and chances of survival.

Do I have a Morcellator Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting laparoscopic power morcellator induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by cancer (leiomyosarcoma or uterine sarcoma), you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Medical Device Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

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