IVC Filters and the Harm They Cause – What They Knew, When They Knew It
Inferior vena cava filters (IVC filters) are designed to help patients recovering from surgeries by preventing blood clots from traveling to their lungs and heart which can potentially damage tissue or can even be fatal. These devices are inserted into the largest vein in the body, located in the abdomen. However, many patients are finding out that these filters may be more harmful than the initial threat of blood clots.
What They Knew
An IVC filter is made up of several pointed prongs that form a cage like structure to catch blood clot fragments. If a prong comes loose or if the entire device detaches from the vein, a blood vessel can be punctured, the filter can shift or migrate damaging surrounding tissue, the prongs can break off and can lodge into the heart, lungs or other organs, and some cases have shown that these devices can even cause blood clots. These conditions can cause long term damage or even death.
When They Knew It
In 2003, IVC filters were fast-tracked through the FDA since they were similar to previous products. By 2010, the FDA had received over 921 separate adverse effects reports from patients who experienced problems with the device dislodging, fracturing, migrating and more. Patients have reported to the FDA that their filters have fractured causing prongs to lodge in the lower lumbar of the spine, the small intestines, and punctured veins and organs. One California women even had an IVC filter prong lodge in her heart and is unable to undergo surgery due to the risk. Clearly, these are all painful and life threatening conditions.
Currently, there are over 6,000 lawsuits pending in federal court because the various IVC companies knew their products were defective and yet they continued to sell them without telling patients and doctors about the potential risks. One bellwether case was recently awarded while three more are scheduled for 2018:
The U.S. District Court in Arizona has ordered C.R. Bard Inc. – which was acquired by company Becton, Dickinson (BD) – to pay $3.6 million in damages to Sherr-Una Booker of Georgia who experienced medical complications due to having a defective IVC filter. The G2 IVC filter implant fractured inside her body and perforated her inferior vena cava. The jury required Bard to pay Ms. Booker $1.6 million (80% of the $2 million in total compensatory damages) for failure to warn of the dangers of the filter and also ordered Bard to pay $2 million in punitive damages. This is the first case in more than 3,600 bellwether trials involving Bard’s IVC filters.
The next trial is set to take place on May 15, 2018 involving plaintiff Doris Jones. Mrs. Jones was given a Bard Eclipse IVC filter which fractured and caused a prong to lodge in her right pulmonary artery. The filter was removed but a fractured IVC filter limb still remains in place.
A third IVC bellwether case is scheduled to start on September 10, 2018 and a final bellwether trial is set to occur on November 5, 2018. The outcome of these combined cases will help to determine how the other claims against Bard will be settled and numerous new claims are being filed daily.
What Can You Do?
IVC filters evidently have several dangerous adverse effects that can not only cause great pain and suffering, but may have lethal repercussions. If you or a loved one has experienced any one of these adverse effects and had a Bard, Cook or Greenfield IVC filter implanted after 2003, you may be able to make a claim. Thousands of people who have been injured are joining together to voice their complaints against the manufacturers of these unsafe medical devices. Contact us today to see if we are able to help you.