Attorneys Provide Introduction to IVC Filter Complications and Lawsuits
The IVC (Inferior Vena Cava) filter injury attorneys at the Drug Law Center are taking on claims on behalf of the many people who were injured due to complications stemming from removable IVC filters. These devices are intended to capture and break apart blood clots in the leg so that they do not migrate to major organs such as the heart or lungs, but they have been linked to serious internal injuries. In some cases, doctors were unable to remove the devices safely due to migration or fracturing of the device. If you have been injured, we would like to learn more about your story.
A History of IVC Filters
An IVC filter is a device that is implanted into the largest vein in the body— known as the inferior vena cava. These devices are designed with tiny legs that spread out like a net to capture blood clots before they can move from the lower legs, where they do not pose a significant threat to the patient’s health. They are considered an effective treatment for patients at risk of pulmonary embolism or stroke who are unable to take anticoagulants due to complications or side effects.
The original IVC filters were implanted permanently, but removable filters have since been developed. It is the removable filters that pose the greatest chance of complication, as it has been found that the devices may fracture, puncture the vein walls, perforate organs or migrate through the body. The popularity of these devices is now making it possible for thousands of patients to find themselves at risk every year.
From the release of the IVC filter to the market in 1979 until 2012, it is estimated that over 259,000 of the devices have been implanted in patients suffering from conditions that place them at an elevated risk of developing deep vein thrombosis. DVT is not a serious condition, but when the clots migrate throughout the body, the patient may suffer from a stroke, heart attack or pulmonary embolism.
Permanent vs Removable Filters
Permanent IVC filters remain inside of the body indefinitely and are prescribed for patients that are suffering from chronic conditions that place them at continued risk. Removable filters were developed for patients who are only at temporary or intermittent risk due to acute conditions, injuries or surgery. They are implanted until the risk of developing blood clots has subsided and are often recommended for patients undergoing any type of surgery at or below the hips and who cannot safely take anticoagulant medications.
The problem with removable filters is that they are more prone to fracture and migration and may cause extreme injuries when these events occur. The complications that have been reported include the following.
- The device is not implanted correctly— placing the filter in the wrong position can cause injuries to the site of the incision or the location where the filter is placed. It may also result in the puncture of the vein wall, causing internal bleeding and increasing the risk of infection.
- Extended surgical time during device recovery— there are a number of complications that can occur when doctors attempt to recover the removable filters, including the present of scar tissue, perforation of the blood vessel and clots inside of the device.
- Fracture of the device, resulting in injuries due to the migration of fragments— when the filter breaks, sharp pieces can travel through the blood to other areas of the body and perforate or damage important organs. In some cases, these fragments may even puncture the heart.
- Device migration— in other instances, the entire device migrates, making it more difficult to remove the device and causing internal injuries from the migration.
- Infections due to internal injuries— it is possible for the defective filter to cause bleeding which facilitates the growth of bacteria inside of the body. The blood can easily carry an infection to other areas of the body as well, making this a serious complication.
IVC Filter Lawsuits
The FDA has reported that IVC filters may be linked to serious complications, including life threatening injuries when the device fractures or migrates. Over 18.3% of attempts to remove removable filters fail when the devices remain inside of patients too long and the FDA reported that doctors often delay their removal longer than needed. A number of lawsuits are still pending involving those who suffered serious injuries because of device migration, organ perforation, punctured blood vessels and more.
If you have been injured, our IVC filter injury lawyers at the Drug Law Center may be able to assist you in recovering the compensation you need to pay for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. We have the experience and successful track recorded needed to provide you the greatest chance of upholding the manufacturer of your defective device accountable.
Contact us today to arrange a free consultation with an award winning IVC filter injury attorney so that we can gather the information we need to investigate your claim. Once we have gotten to the bottom of your claim, we will be able to let you know what legal options and strategies are available so that you know exactly what you can expect from the legal process should you proceed with your claim. We work solely on contingency to allow everyone access to our quality legal services and this means you will never be required to pay legal fees until we have secured compensation on your behalf.
Two companies are responsible for manufacturing the majority of the removable IVC filters that have come under fire for numerous defects and complications. Numerous lawsuits are still pending against C.R. Bard and Cook Medical alleging that the companies manufactured defective devices that can fracture, migrate within the body and cause life threatening injuries. The IVC filter injury attorneys here at Drug Law Center are taking on new clients who have suffered similar injuries and will work tirelessly to ensure that justice is served by holding these companies liable for the pain and suffering their products have caused.
Devices Named in Lawsuits
There are six different IVC filters named in lawsuits across the country. The majority of them are produced by Bard while Cook Medical and Boston Scientific produce two and one, respectively. The devices named in these lawsuits are as follows.
- The Bard Recovery Filter
- The Bard G2 Filter
- The Bard G2 Express Filter
- The Cook Gunther Tulip Filter
- The Cook Celect Filter
- The Boston Scientific Greenfield Filter
Plaintiffs allege that these devices pose the risk of internal injuries when the device fractures or migrates to another location in the body. Complications can include internal bleeding, infection, perforation of the vein, perforation of organs, damage to the heart or lungs and death.
Bellwether Trials Set for 2017
A bellwether trial is one of the first trials heard in a mass tort and the results can set precedent for action in the future. Attorneys will monitor these proceedings to determine what difficulties they may encounter while trying their own cases and what steps they can take to increase their chances of success. Out of hundreds of lawsuits filed against Cook Medical, the first trials are set to be heard on 2017.
Elizabeth Hill is the first plaintiff to reach trial and is suing because following the implantation of a Cook IVC filter, she experienced severe abdominal pain, vomiting, weakness and other serious symptoms of gastrointestinal injuries. Doctors recovered the filter from her intestine, where it had migrated from her inferior vena cava.
Hill alleges that Cook acted negligently by producing an inferior product and concealed the risks before the procedure. Her case will be a good indicator on how future cases will fare and whether other victims can expect settlement offers before going to trial. While these bellwether cases help provide predictions on future results, every case that goes to trial may differ in some manner.
Other Pending Lawsuits Against TVM Manufacturers
There are three class action lawsuits pending against C.R Bard to be heard across three states. Each of them alleges that Bard knew the devices were defective but chose to sell them anyway. The suits are being brought on behalf of every person who was implanted with one of Bard’s devices and was injured or must not undergo monitoring as a result.
These actions are to be heard in Pennsylvania, California and Florida.
Aside from the class action lawsuits there are still another 1,600 lawsuits involving individual claimants that are still pending. As more victims come forward, we anticipate that this mass tort will continue to grow.
For some, the injuries suffered have caused permanent debilitation, as in the case of Lisa Davis, who is no longer able to perform her duties on the job after her IVC fractured and punctured her heart. She must now take anticoagulants for the rest of her life. Kelly Vlasvich was also implanted with a defective device, which fractured and migrated to her heart and lungs. She is also disabled due to the complications and continues to suffer physical and emotional trauma.
Larry Johnson feel unconscious while driving after his IVC filter fractured and migrated to his heart. The device was implanted after an operation on his knee and fractured four years later. He is seeking damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, diminished quality of life and loss of consortium.
Put Our Experienced IVC Filter Lawyers to Work on Your Behalf
Our attorneys at the Drug Law Center are constantly following developments to current litigation and how it may impact your own claim. Regardless of how these bellwether trials fair, we are confident in our ability to ensure that our clients have the greatest chance of recovering compensation for their injuries. This is why we work on a contingency basis and guarantee to never charge our clients a dime unless we are able to recover compensation on their behalf.
Contact us today to arrange your free consultation with one of our award winning IVC filter injury attorneys so that we can gather all of the information we need to investigate your claim. We will let you know what legal options are available to you and how the legal process works so that you have no surprises. We look forward to helping you secure the damages you need to pay for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.