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Why Two Hospitals in Pennsylvania May Have Failed All Women Needing Hysterectomies
It’s a simple concept, one that’s been central to the development of modern medicine for decades: when a prescription drug or medical device fails a patient, causing an adverse health event or side effect, doctors and hospitals have to report what happened. That simple report helps to protect future patients from suffering the same adverse health event and also pushes medicine forward, helping everyone to one day benefit from a modern pharmaceutical world that does not entail dangerous drugs or medical devices.
Unfortunately, we’re not there yet. In fact, three hospitals in Pennsylvania, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Rochester General Hospital and University of Rochester Medical Center, may have failed to report to the authorities when women died of advanced stage cancer that may have spread after they received hysterectomies or myomectomies with a surgical device known as a power morcellator.
When Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Rochester General Hospital and University of Rochester Medical Center allegedly failed to report the spread of deadly cancer, they not only failed to warn the medical community about the life-threatening risks associated with this “minimally invasive procedure” but also in-turn failed to warn other women and their families about the serious risk — a risk that many hospitals, now that the cancer risk is more well known, have decided is often not worth taking at all.
Anytime a patient goes to the doctor to consider a surgical treatment, they need to know the full risks and benefits. These knowledge of these risks and benefits are accumulated over time, first in the trial period before the surgical devices are brought onto the market, and then again, repeatedly over the years, as more patients receive the surgery. Hopefully, the surgery goes well and there are no adverse health events. But that’s not always the case.
Sometimes there are medical devices like power morcellators — devices that may carry a serious risk that patients need to be aware of before they receive surgery. In this instance, it’s absolutely imperative that doctors and hospitals report adverse health events in order to better our medical awareness and in turn improve patient safety.
Fortunately, women everywhere may have one Pennsylvania Congressman, Mike Fitzpatrick, to thank. Representative Fitzpatrick recently stood up for female patients by voicing his concern over the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Rochester General Hospital and University of Rochester Medical Center hospital’s failure to report their patient’s death by a cancer that was likely spread because of power morcellation in a strongly-worded — and much-needed — letter.
According to Representative Fitzpatrick, “For over 2 decades since the power morcellator was first cleared for use on patients, the FDA’s Medical Device Reporting regulations failed to catch the severe dangers posed to women’s health by morcellation.” And, unfortunately, had these much-needed reports been made, “it is likely many women’s lives could have been spared from the horrific consequences of morcellation”
In the letter Representative Fitzpatrick also presents crucial questions that need to be answered regarding the patient’s cancer spread and untimely death. You can read the letter yourself by clicking here.
While the hospitals in Pennsylvania may be under special scrutiny, our power morcellator lawyers do not believe this is a Pennsylvania-specific problem. Instead, hospitals and doctors around the country may be doing a less than stellar job of reporting adverse health events.
Sadly, this subpar reporting creates unnecessary harm in countless patients and their families. It is for these patients that we work tirelessly to promote awareness about the real health consequences of power morcellators and other dangerous drugs and medical devices, and it is for these patients that we hope hospitals around the country will finally do what’s needed and report the issues their patients face fully.