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Son Files Morcellator Cancer Lawsuit in South Carolina

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A South Carolina man has filed a morcellator cancer lawsuit against Karl Storz Endoscopy-America, Inc., on behalf of his deceased mother. Michael Watkins believes his mother, Enid Watkins died an untimely death as a result of a hysterectomy using morcellation.

On May 5, 2011, Enid Watkins underwent a supracervical hysterectomy and a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. During this procedure, her surgeon removed at least one fibroid from her uterus and broad ligament using a Storz Morcellator. Her surgeon used the device to cut, shred and remove the decedent’s fibroid and uterus. The cause of the fibroid tissue was found to be uterine adenosarcoma.

A laparoscopic power morcellator is a medical device used during different types of laparoscopic surgeries. This includes procedures to treat uterine fibroids, such as removing the uterus or removing the uterine fibroids. Morcellation is the division of tissue into smaller pieces to facilitate the removal through small incision sites.

Morcellator cancer lawsuit

According to the claim, the use of the Storz Morcellator effectively disseminated cancerous cells throughout her abdominal cavity. The device spread and fulminated a uterine adenosarcome through her abdominal cavity, worsening her long-term prognosis and the natural course of the cancer. Six days after the surgery, Enid Watkins was diagnosed with adenosarcoma and sarcomatous overgrowth. She passed away on April 13, 2012.

“The dissemination of cancer cells caused by the use of the Storz Morcellator significantly amplified the speed with which Decedent’s adenosarcoma metastasized, and significantly depreciated the long-term prognosis for the course of her uterine cancer,” states the claim. “Fibroid removal surgery without the use of a morcellator generally poses almost no danger of dissemination and/or upstaging of cancer.”

The plaintiff alleges that his mother would not have been diagnosed with advanced stage adenosarcoma if the Storz Morcellator hadn’t disseminated and fulminated the cancer cells throughout her abdomen.

“The instrument caused this specific cancerous condition, profoundly and gravely injuring her and ultimately leading to her death,” alleges the plaintiff.

The claim notes that instructions accompanying the device state that “use of a tissue extraction bag is advised for the morcellation of malignant tumors or tissue suspected of being malignant, and for tissue that the surgeon may consider to be harmful if disseminated in a body cavity.”

The plaintiff alleges that this statement is insufficient and negligent, as it incorrectly conveys that detection of cancerous tissue by conventional procedures and techniques before morcellation is feasible and likely, when it is not.

“Defendants knew or should have known, detection of such cancerous tissue is not feasible or likely in at least 1 in 350 cases, including Decedent’s,” states the claim.

Plaintiff seeks relief

Michael Watkins believes the cancerous tissues in his mother’s uterus would have remained confined to her uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes, posing almost no danger of upstaging her cancer, if the device hadn’t been used. He accuses the defendants of knowing of the risks associated with morcellation surgery, but failing to provide adequate warnings of the dangers.

According to the complaint, Watkins seeks relief because the defendants:

  • Negligently failed to warn the decedent and her doctor about the true risks of the Storz Morcellator.
  • Made the instrument unsafe for its intended use and are strictly liable for placing the Storz Morcellator on the market.
  • Fraudulently misrepresented the risks of the instrument.

“These acts and omissions of the defendants injured the decedent, exposing her to risks of her cancer spreading throughout her body and causing her to endure painful and expensive radiation treatment, and ultimately led to her death,” states the claim.

Morcellator lawsuit cites 12 counts

The plaintiff is suing the defendant on 12 counts, including:

  • Negligence
  • Defective Manufacturing
  • Design Defect
  • Failure to Warn
  • Strict Liability
  • Breach of Implied Warranty
  • Personal Injury — Enid Watkins
  • Breach of Express Warranty
  • Negligent Misrepresentation
  • Fraudulent Misrepresentation and Omission
  • Fraud by Concealment
  • Wrongful Death Under S.C. Code ANN. § 15-51-10
  • Survivor Action Under S.C. Code ANN. § 15-5-90
  1. U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina — Columbia Division, Michael Watkins vs. Karl Storz Endoscopy-America, Inc.
  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, UPDATED Laparoscopic Uterine Power Morcellation in Hysterectomy and Myomectomy: FDA Safety Communication