You may be eligible for compensation if you have suffered injuries from a faulty inferior vena cava (IVC) blood clot filter, a medical device used to reduce the likelihood of dangerous blood clots and related medical complications. The IVC blood clot filters, which look like tiny wire whisks, have been linked to dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries. The two main manufacturers of the device, C.R. Bard and Cook Medical, have been sued for allegedly failing to take adequate action despite knowing about the potential dangers. Even if you have not experienced complications from your IVC filter, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended removal as a precautionary measure.
If you are one of the thousands of Americans with an implanted IVC filter, you should speak with your physician as soon as possible. The following is a general overview of the device's risks, actions by the FDA, and information about IVC blood clot filter lawsuits.
IVC Blood Clot Filters at a Glance
IVC filters are inserted into the inferior vena cava (IVC), the main blood vessel carrying blood from the lower half of the body to the heart, in order to stop dislodged blood clots from moving into the lungs (a dangerous condition called pulmonary embolism). When loose blood clots travel to other parts of the body and become lodged, often in the veins of the legs, they can cause a painful condition called deep vein thrombosis. IVC blood clot filters are commonly implanted in patients who are at risk for pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis but who are unable to take blood thinners.
Punctured Organs and Other Serious Complications
The FDA received 921 claims of adverse effects from individuals with the implanted devices, including several fatalities, between 2005 and 2010. According to the reports, claimants experienced IVC perforation, punctured tissues and organs (including the heart), and other complications resulting from dislodged or broken filters migrating to other parts of the body. And while the devices are meant to be removed after the risk of pulmonary embolism subsides -- the FDA suggesed they be removed within 29 to 54 days after implantation -- they have proven difficult to retrieve.
Many of the fatalities were attributed to fragments of the device coming loose, traveling to the heart or other organs, and puncturing vital organ tissues. While many of these events were fatal, others were mitigated through open heart surgery and other emergency interventions.
IVC Blood Clot Filter Lawsuits: Overview
The first device sold by Bard that is linked to these lawsuits, named the Recovery, is associated with 27 deaths and hundreds of non-fatal complications and was recalled in 2005 (after it was first sold in 2002). The company replaced that model with the G2 and G2 Express, of which more than 160,000 were sold through 2010. But according to the FDA, the G2 has been associated with at least 12 deaths and hundreds of additional, non-fatal complications. Bard allegedly knew the replacement IVC blood clot filter still had problems, but failed to recall the device after reports of injuries and deaths surfaced.
There is currently a multidistrict litigation (MDL) class-action lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana against Cook Medical, which manufactured the Gunther Tulip and Celect IVC blood clot filters. Complications associated with Cook's devices were similar to those associated with Bard's filters, but details have not been disclosed. The IVC blood clot filter lawsuits against both companies claim negligence, failure to warn, design defects, manufacturing defects, breach of implied warranty, and negligent misrepresentation by the manufacturers.
Learn More About IVC Blood Clot Filter Lawsuits from an Attorney
If you currently have an implanted IVC blood clot filter, make sure you consult with your medical provider to ensure proper care. If you've experienced shortness of breath, persistent chest pain, or other unusual symptoms, you should seek emergency medical attention. You may be able to file a claim against either Bard or Cook Medical if you have suffered injuries as a result of this device. Contact an experienced products liability attorney to discuss the possibility of moving forward with an IVC blood clot filter lawsuit.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.