A group of Olympus Corporation of Americas subsidiaries settled a lawsuit with a Georgia couple who had sued the companies over claims that their medical device used in gynecological surgeries caused the spread of the plaintiff’s uterine cancer, immediately worsening her odds of survival, according to Law360.
Betty Dobson underwent a hysterectomy in 2010 with Olympus’ PSK PlasmaSORD Bipoloar Morcellator, a type of power morcellator used to perform hysterectomies and myomectomies (uterine fibroid removal). The device is fitted with a tube-like blade that minces uterine growths or entire uteruses within the body and removes the tissue through a small incision in the abdomen.
Research has shown that the process of morcellation can fling bits of cancerous tissue throughout the abdomen, seeding new growth, in women who have undiagnosed uterine cancer. This was the case with Dobson, who is one of hundreds of women who suffered cancer spread after a power morcellation procedure.
Dobson filed her lawsuit in May 2015, and is one of three that Olympus is facing in the Philadelphia Country Court of Common Pleas. Those suing the company allege that the risk of cancer spread was known with power morcellation years ago and that Olympus failed to adequately warn surgeons or patients.
In 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that power morcellation should not be used in most women due to the risk of spreading undiagnosed uterine cancer. Doing so, the agency said, could immediately upstage the cancer and decrease long-term patient survival.
The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Olympus said that it is addressing each power morcellator claim individually.