Though IVC filters have been in use to treat blood clots for over half a century, they have recently come under scrutiny amid reports of device failure and subsequent injury. If you or a loved one has been harmed by an IVC filter, Showard Law Firm is here to help. You may be eligible to file an IVC filter lawsuit to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Call us to schedule a free consultation with an experienced member of our team.
What are IVC filters?
An IVC filter is a small device shaped like a metal spider placed in the inferior vena cava (IVC), a large abdominal vein. An IVC filter is intended to catch blood clots in the IVC before they can reach vital organs like the lungs or heart, and cause a potentially fatal event.
The original IVC filters that were introduced in the 1960s were placed permanently and were not commonly associated with widespread complications. However modern technology has since introduced filters for temporary use. It is the recipients of these types of devices who claim to have experienced complications from their devices breaking and/or migrating to other areas of the body.
IVC to treat blood clots
IVC filters are implanted in those at the greatest risk for developing blood clots in deep veins. Typical patient types include those:
- Recovering from surgery
- Are immobile
- Have recently suffered a trauma
- Have been diagnosed with pulmonary embolism in the past (PE)
- Have been diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
Pulmonary embolism is a very serious, and potentially fatal health emergency. Blood clots are often treated with medications like anticoagulants, but for patients who cannot take these drugs, IVC filters have become the standard treatment.
IVC filter complications
IVC filters can break off or migrate, causing complications, and in some cases, even death.
Serious injuries include:
- Organ perforation
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Long-term pain
- Permanently-placed debris from a fractured filter that cannot be removed
IVC Filter Recalls and other FDA action
ICV filter recalls in recent years have been limited scope and applicable to a finite number of products. Between 2005 and 2015, a half dozen recalls affected more than 80,000 implanted devices. In most cases, the recalls were due to packaging and labeling issues. The devices are by and large still widely available today.
Other FDA action has been limited to safety communications. In 2010, the FDA issued a safety alert recognizing that long-term use of retrievable filters could lead to filter fracture and migration, as well as perforations. The 2010 alert recommended that physicians remove retrievable IVC filters to lessen the risk of PE. The FDA updated its alert in 2014, stating that IVC filters pose more risk than benefit between 29 and 54 days after placement and therefore should be removed. The updated alert also called for the collection of additional clinical data.
Manufacturers named in blood clot filter lawsuits
Manufacturers recently named in blood clot filter lawsuits and their respective models include:
- R. Bard – Recovery; G2; G2 Express
- Cook Medical – Celect; Günther Tulip
- Boston Scientific – Greenfield
IVC Filter Multidistrict Litigation
The manufacturers most commonly named in IVC lawsuits are C.R. Bard and Cook Medical, who face more than 8,000 lawsuits proceeding in multi-district litigation (MDL). The Cook MDL is proceeding in Indiana while the Bard MDL continues in Arizona. There is currently no IVC filter class action lawsuit.
As both multidistrict litigations proceed, the results of early bellwether cases will most likely impact how the parties handle the remaining cases. With so many cases in litigation, it is possible that defendants will seek to settle with groups of plaintiffs to improve efficiency of the process once the early decisions are handed down.
IVC Filter Lawsuit Settlement Amounts
IVC filter litigation is still in the relatively early stages, however some parties have reached some confidential settlements with manufacturers. A small handful of cases have gone to trial. Results have been varied, and a pattern has yet to emerge.
On March 30, 2018, in a bellwether case against Bard, a jury awarded plaintiff Sherr-Una Booker $1.6 million in damages, plus an additional $2 million in punitive damages based on the manufacturer’s failure to warn. Booker had been implanted with Bard’s G2 filter but experienced complications when it broke free and travelled to her heart; pieces of the device remain in her heart even after corrective surgery. Bard has requested a new trial.
In another trial, a jury found in favor of Bard on the theory that the manufacturer had provided adequate warning to doctors.
Cook Lawsuit Settlements
Cook prevailed in its first bellwether trial, but has since lost another trial to a Texas man who won a $1.2 million verdict against the company. That case was not consolidated with other cases in Indiana, but instead proceeded in Texas state court.
Call Showard Law Firm to Learn More
At Showard Law Firm, we are committed to helping those harmed by dangerous medical devices. If you or someone close to you has been injured by an IVC filter, please do not hesitate to call. This litigation is gaining momentum and we believe in taking swift action. Schedule your confidential consultation today.
Additional IVC filter lawsuit resources:
- FDA, Removing Retrievable Inferior Vena Cava Filters: FDA Safety Communications, http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm396377.htm
- United States District Court, District of Arizona, In Re: Bard IVC Filters Products Liability Litigation, http://www.azd.uscourts.gov/case-info/bard
- ScienceDaily, Notable decreases in IVC filter usage after FDA advisory, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170710113657.htm
- MedPageToday, 2010: When IVC Filter Use Started Going Down FDA warning apparently made impact, https://www.medpagetoday.com/meetingcoverage/sir/63749
- MDedge, FDA: Remove IVC filters 29-54 days after implantation, https://www.mdedge.com/vascularspecialistonline/article/84276/dvt-pulmonary-embolism/fda-remove-ivc-filters-29-54-days