“Let them sue me.” Dr. Hooman Noorchashm stated in 2014 when facing potential legal action by the manufacturers of power morcellators. “No judge in his or her right mind will take this case.”
The doctor’s high-profile campaign against laparoscopic power morcellators began when his wife, Dr. Amy Reed, MD, PhD, underwent a hysterectomy for uterine fibroids at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass in October 2013. The head surgeon of the operation used the Karl Storz Rotocut morcellator to shred what was thought to be benign fibroids into smaller bits that were then extracted through the laparoscopic incisions.
However, a week following the surgery, follow-up physicians told the family that she had an aggressive uterine cancer and that the medical tool may have caused the serious medical errors of spreading the formerly unknown cancer throughout her stomach. A subsequent operation confirmed this theory and that the correlated tissue scattering accelerated the cancer, causing Dr. Reed to advance to stage IV cancer within a month of the operation.
Dr. Noorchashm and Dr. Reed refused to stay quiet about the lethal medical errors and ignited a storm of controversy around the tool’s use. In April 2014, the US Food and Drug Administration released a statement estimating that 1 in 350 women undergoing the fibroid removal procedure have a similarly unsuspected uterine sarcoma and that the tool’s use could exacerbate issues such as in the Dr. Reed case.
The FDA is recommending for surgeons and hospitals to stop the use of laparoscopic power morcellators for hysterectomies or myomectomies is women with uterine fibroids due to this risk of dispersing cancer. In July 2014, one manufacturer — Johnson & Johnson — voluntarily withdrew its products due to such cancer uncertainty.
The couple is still fighting, both to spread awareness of this issue and to save Dr. Reed’s life.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer after undergoing a procedure conducted with a power morcellator, please contact us for a free case evaluation.
Source: ABC News