Doctor's Battle with Cancer Shines Light on the Risk of Power Morcellators

Since being diagnosed with cancer in 2013, Dr. Amy Reed has been battling for her life—a diagnosis she claims was tied to an operation to remove uterine fibroid tumors performed with the use of a power morcellator. Power morcellators are devices that cut up tissue into tiny pieces during surgery so they can easily be removed through a small incision. Unfortunately, while there are several claimed benefits, there are also the less verbalized dangers of utilizing such a device, such as the spread of undetected cancer.

Last year, the FDA issued a warning to doctors regarding the risks of the device; however, they did not issue a recall as they believed there were a small number of women who may benefit from it. Following the warning, Johnson & Johnson (one of the device makers) pulled its morcellators off of the market.

Still, there are many who claim that not enough is being done to protect women against the dangers of such medical devices. Chief amongst these protestors are Dr. Reed and her husband, Dr. Hooman Noorchashm. Both doctors claim that more needs to be done to protect patients and that they have already verbalized their concerns to FBI investigators. “This a violation of federal law that has led to the loss of life, so I think that is what got the FBI’s attention,” said Noorchashm to CBS Philly.

This month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI is performing an investigation into how much Johnson & Johnson knew about the risks of power morcellators. Allegedly, the company has known about problems since they were first reported in 2006. According to Reed, had the company taken immediate action, her situation, as well as the situation of hundreds of other women, could have been prevented.

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