"Now that she's passed I will do my part to carry on what she started," he said. "I will help as much as I can to get this removed."
Brenda Leuzzi died 25 months after fibroid surgery through minimally invasive procedure that involved power morcellation. At the time, no one knew the fibroids, thought to be innocent growths, were cancerous. There is no definitive pre-surgery test to determine whether fibroids are benign. Power morcellation shreds tissue so that it can be removed through small incisions of minimally invasive surgery. In so doing, it can send bits of cancer to other parts of the abdomen, where they can "seed."
A grassroots effort to end power morcellation has been going on for just about a year, since the problem was brought to light by a physician whose wife had an undetected cancer worsened by the procedure.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued advisories against the procedure and the leading manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, has asked providers to return the devices. But other manufacturers have them on the market. The FDA held hearings in July about the safety of the procedure.
The same day that George Leuzzi buried his wife, Morgan Liscinsky of the FDA press office answered a request for an update with, "I have no new information to share since you contacted me last month."
Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand wrote in August to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. That letter was on behalf of Jim Leary of Greece, whose wife, Barbara, died last year after having undergone a procedure that involved morcellation.
Asked what the senators are doing to step up pressure, Gillibrand spokesman Jacob Fromer responded: "It is deeply frustrating to the Senator that while the FDA discourages the use of these very devices they won't take the necessary action to ban them. She will continue to communicate her concerns to the commissioner. Kirsten's thoughts and prayers are with the Leuzzi family, particularly their young daughter, Peyton."
Schumer spokesman Max Dworin said the office "followed up with the FDA (Monday), urging them again to call on manufacturers to voluntarily recall these devices, and we will continue to push."
Schumer's statement Monday read, ""The passing of Brenda Leuzzi is tragic and further underscores the urgency for all firms to voluntarily recall these devices until more thorough testing can be done. The FDA should act before another family has to experience what the Leuzzi family is going through right now. My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Leuzzi family."
George Leuzzi is more adamant than Schumer. "I'm very disappointed in the FDA. They should have banned this by now. They're just stalling and finding some other way to convince themselves it's OK. If anybody saw Brenda and the way she died, it's pretty far from OK. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy."
George Leuzzi said he's received an uncountable number of texts and emails since he posted on a leiomyosarcoma Facebook page news of Brenda's death.
"Cancer is the enemy, but any procedure that would enhance it and make it worse and put someone in a position to have no way of rebounding from it is criminal," he said.
As it was during Brenda's illness, her husband's focus is on his wife.
"I want her to be remembered. I don't want her to be forgotten, especially because what she died for was completely unnecessary."