Inferior vena cava filters are small devices that get inserted into the largest vein in the body in order to stop blood clots that originate in the lower half of the body from making their way to the heart and lungs where they might be fatal.
This is an admiral aim of course and one that would serve an important role. Unfortunately however, IVC filters themselves can also pose a serious risk to the patients who use them. Frighteningly, there are an alarming number of cases where pieces have broken off and gone on to migrate to dangerous areas of the body, or even puncture vital veins and organs.
If you have been harmed by IVC filters, then it is important that you seek the appropriate legal representation and make your case in court. This way, we can prevent others from suffering the same fate or worse and you may also be entitled to a financial settlement.
IVC filters are implanted in a huge number of US residents every year. To be precise, a quarter of a million US patients have the devices implanted annually. This is despite a lack of long-term research to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of IVC filters and despite the fact that many patients end up suffering from pulmonary embolism and an even greater chance of suffering from deep vein thrombosis!
So why are these devices used and why do they continue to be used despite so many causes for concern? Most patients that are at risk from thromboembolism will take some form of anticoagulant in order to combat the condition. This thins the blood and thereby reduces the likelihood of clots and other problems.
However, not all patients are recommended for this type of treatment. For instance, those with blood clotting disorders would be putting themselves at risk by using blood thinners. For these reasons, an IVC might be considered as an alternative solution. Although IVC filters cannot stop blood clots from forming, they can potentially prevent them from reaching the upper body where they would cause maximum damage and that way reduce the likelihood of blocking the pulmonary artery.
But while this makes sense on the face of it, the conventional thinking behind this treatment has been called into question by a lot of research and by many incidents of complications involving the use of the device. Between 2005 and 2010 alone, the FDA received over 900 reports of adverse effects caused by IVC filters. Among these, the most common concerns were device migration (which accounted for 328 reports), detachment of device components (146 reports), filters perforating the veins or organs (70) or filters becoming fractured (56).
Essentially, IVC filters involve inserting fragile items into the body that can break off and cause damage.
Newer IVC filters have been designed to be removed once the patient has been cleared but this can also cause a number of issues. In the Journal of the American Medical Association, one study was published that examined 952 patients with IVC filters and found that 2% of device removals failed.
This could be due to numerous reasons, including:
By now, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed focussing on the widespread harm caused by these filter devices. But who is to blame and who is the target?
Primarily, the main targets of lawsuits are:
An NBC News Investigation has actually documented the significant negligence on the part of Bad regarding the IVC filters. Here, it was found that dozens of hundreds more non-fatal complications were linked to the filters provided by Bard Recovery and G2. This investigation concluded damningly that Bard knew of the problems with the devices by continued to sell them without pulling them from the market. This put many thousands of patients at severe risk of injury or even death.
IVC filters are placed inside of veins that carry blood to the heart and lungs and this makes it particularly dangerous should a piece break off. In this scenario, it can end up embedded in the very organs it is trying to protect. In some cases, the entire of the filter can become dislodged from the implant site in order to wreak this damage.
Several victims of IVC damage have come forward and described the types of injuries they have been forced to live with.
In one NBC News profile, two women described what happened when their IVC filters malfunctioned. Dodi Froehlich nearly died from the complication and needed emergency open heart surgery due to a piece that had splintered off piercing her heart.
Gloria Adam’s meanwhile was tragically killed after her IVC filter was dislodged by a blood clot and then punctured her heart.
A lawsuit that was filed against C.R. Bard similarly claimed that a plaintiff that had been implanted with a Bard G2 filter, underwent a CT scan showing that metallic spokes from the filter had become lodged in the right ventricle of their heart and their right lung. The patient required two extensive surgeries in order to remove the pieces but some of the pieces in the lung could not be removed and had to be permanently left in position.
An IVC lawsuit against Boston Scientific meanwhile alleged that the victim suffered a medical emergency and ultimately death due to the IVC filter breaking free and piercing the inferior vena cava. This led to a fatal hemorrhage that was discovered during autopsy, after the plaintiff had died at the side of a road.
There are two types of IVC filter mass torts that are looking for compensation for injury victims. Multidistrict Litigation lawsuits (MDL) have formed in Indiana and Arizona. These consolidate multiple similar cases for pre-trial proceedings while letting the victims maintain their own individual lawsuits in court.
Class action lawsuits meanwhile have been filed against Bard in Florida, Pennsylvania and California. Class actions seek to gain a medical monitoring fund for those that have been implanted with the filters, in order to fund ongoing safety tests.
Lawsuits against IVC filter manufacturers accuse manufacturers of:
These accusations may entitle patients to compensation for losses. Such losses include any and all medical expenses, the loss of wages or impaired ability to earn, pain and discomfort, emotional anguish, disfigurement or impairment, inability to lead a normal life, loss of services and support for surviving family members and loved ones.
If you or a loved one has used an IVC filter and experienced any kind of negative outcome as a result, then you may be entitled to compensation. Get in touch to learn more about the possibility of a settlement and how to proceed if you feel that you should be entitled to compensation.
November 11, 2015