August 19, 2015 — A woman who was diagnosed with cancer just weeks after a morcellator was used to remove fibroids has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer and the hospital, according to the North Jersey Record.
The 43 year-old mother, Viviana Ruscitto, had what was supposed to be a routine hysterectomy to remove a large fibroid in October 2014.
Six months before her operation, the FDA had warned against using morcellators in hysterectomies because they could spread undiagnosed cancer.
Just weeks after her surgery, Ruscitto was diagnosed with stage-4 leiomyosarcoma, a highly-aggressive uterine cancer that rapidly metastasized to her intestines. She is no longer undergoing chemotherapy and is receiving palliative care.
She has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey against Karl Storz Endoscopy Inc., manufacturer of the morcellator used in her surgery. Her lawsuit is the third in that district. Nearly two dozen other lawsuits have been filed around the nation against four device-makers.
Ruscitto’s lawsuit includes product liability claims against Karl Storz and malpractice claims against her doctors and The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, New Jersey. She claims they should have known about the cancer-spreading risks of morcellators.
Morcellators were promoted as a time-saving tool in the operating room. They use high-speed spinning blades to grind up uterine tissue into tiny fragments that can easily be sucked out of a patient’s body during minimally-invasive hysterectomies.
If the fragments contain cancerous cells, they can attach to intestines or the abdominal wall or travel in the bloodstream, “seeding” tumors throughout a woman’s abdomen — turning stage-1 treatable cancer to stage-4 terminal cancer.
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