Morcellation results in hundreds of avoidable deaths each year, according to an unpublished paper written by Harvard Medical School and Boston University doctors. Nancy Lincoln Davies, a 59-year-old gliding instructor from New Hampshire, was one of the first victims to die from “upstaged” cancer that was spread by morcellation.
Davies was diagnosed with a uterine fibroid in 2012 after she spoke with her doctor about pelvic pain. The doctor recommended a hysterectomy with a power morcellator, a device that slices the uterus into fragments so they can be removed through a laparoscopic incision. Morcellators are popular with doctors because it decreases recovery time and is easier to perform compared to many alternatives, according to U.S. News.
Davies was informed after surgery that the fibroid was actually cancer that was worsened by morcellation. Nancy Davies lost her battle with cancer less than a year after her procedure.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has since discouraged the use of laparoscopic power morcellators for removal of uterus or uterine fibroids due to the risk of spreading undetected cancerous tissue.
The FDA’s warning came too late for Nancy Davies, who was not informed of morcellation cancer risks. “There was no warning that says ‘hey if this is more than a fibroid, here is what can happen’,” Nancy’s husband told U.S. News.
Women who were diagnosed with expedited cancer spread during morcellation are urged to contact a law firm about filing a morcellator cancer lawsuit to seek justice from the manufacturers that failed to properly warn of morcellation risks.