Lina Medical Settles First Morcellator Cancer Lawsuit
One of the first morcellator lawsuits filed in U.S. district court settled for a confidential sum before the case was slated to reach trial. The Wall Street Journal reports that widower Scott Burkhart brought the claim against LiNA Medical in 2014 after losing his wife to myelosarcoma, an aggressive form of uterine cancer. Eleven months prior to her death, his wife had a power morcellator-assisted hysterectomy. For years, many in the medical community have relied on power morcellators to help break up fibroids and uterine tissue, allowing for smaller incisions in hysterectomy and myomectomies. The concern is that many women who have undiagnosed cancer at the time of morcellation are at an increased risk of having malignant cells spread throughout the pelvic and abdominal cavity, thus shortening the patient’s life expectancy.
According to Burkhart’s lawsuit, his wife had no documented evidence of “disseminated and/or metastatic cancer/disease” before her hysterectomy procedure in 2012. But just seven days after the operation, her physicians diagnosed her with uterine cancer.
The Sanders Firm has been on the forefront of national product liability litigation involving defective drugs and medical devices for more than 40 years, and is pleased with the news of this first settlement. In the scope of future litigation, the accord is especially promising for other women who have been diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma after a morcellation procedure.
Morcellator cancer lawsuit settled before trial
Burkhart’s wife was only 53 when she died of uterine cancer, less than a year after her hysterectomy with morcellation. The FDA cautions that as many as one in every 350 women is suspected of having undiagnosed uterine cancer that may be spread during a power morcellator-assisted gynecological procedure.
LiNA Medical settled the claim before it was scheduled to be tried before a jury in November 2015, ahead of at least 20 other complaints alleging that manufacturers failed to warn patients of this life-threatening risk. The defendant has not commented on the morcellator settlement, and the terms of the agreement will remain confidential.
The plaintiff told the Wall Street Journal that his primary aim in litigation was warning the public about morcellation cancer dangers, and that he would have been happy if the case had gone to trial. Laparoscopic hysterectomy and fibroid tumor removal surgery with morcellation has been tied to the development of myelosarcoma, endometrial sarcoma, leiomyosarcoma and other types of uterine cancer, according to plaintiffs.
Petition filed to consolidate claims under MDL
As more lawsuits alleging morcellation-related cancer are filed, a growing number of insurance carriers and U.S. hospitals have either limited or totally banned the use of morcellators in gynecological surgeries including hysterectomy and myomectomy.
Last month, plaintiffs filed a petition with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) requesting that existing federal lawsuits be transferred before one judge for more efficient pretrial proceedings. This type of consolidated litigation in federal court is known as multidistrict litigation. Oral arguments will be heard about the possibility of establishing an MDL for power morcellation claims alleging the devices spread cancer during a hearing session this October.
Free consultation with product liability attorneys
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with uterine sarcoma following morcellation surgery, you may have grounds for legal compensation in the form of a settlement or jury award. The Sanders Firm is deeply invested in the ongoing litigation efforts against the makers of power morcellator devices and is committed to seeking justice on the behalf of innocent women who have suffered needlessly through no fault of their own.
To explore your legal options, please contact us toll-free at 1-800-FAIR-PLAY.
- Wall Street Journal, Lawsuit Over Hysterectomy Tool Settled http://www.wsj.com/articles/lawsuit-over-hysterectomy-tool-settled-1435872030?mod=rss_Health
- The Advisory Board Company, JAMA: We May Have Underestimated the Risks of Morcellation http://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2014/07/29/jama-we-may-have-underestimated-the-risks-of-morcellation