Since flipping the calendar to February 2015, two new wrongful death lawsuits have been filed on behalf of victims of leiomyosarcoma, an aggressive cancer, following a laparoscopic hysterectomy where a Johnson & Johnson Ethicon power morcellator was used. The surgical tool, used to grind up and remove bits of fibroid tissue through a tiny cut in the abdomen, has been linked to the spread of hidden cancers—and in these cases, proved fatal.
The Ethicon device manufactured by Johnson & Johnson was recalled from the market in July 2014, but not timely enough for one of the victims: a South Carolina woman diagnosed with the deadly cancer passed away just two months after the recall. The widow of another victim, who died from the morcellator-spread cancer in February 2013, claimed in his lawsuit that his late wife was never informed of the known risks associated with power morcellators. Sharply criticized “black-box” warnings doled out by the FDA have raised concerns by advocates and some medical professionals that the warnings are simply not enough, and the device should be permanently and completely removed from the markets.