Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are surgical devices that are threaded into the body through the skin and are intended to prevent blood clots after a medical procedure or accident. IVC filters can be implemented permanently or temporarily and removed once the patient’s risk of blood clotting is reduced. Over 250,000 of these devices have been installed as of 2012.
Although they are intended to save lives, IVC filters are incredibly prone to snapping or moving out of place of their originally-intended location, which can cause severe health complications and even a risk of death. There are thousands of ongoing and settled lawsuits resulting from damages – and wrongful deaths – caused by malfunctioning IVC filters against many different manufacturers.
Devices that are claimed to be liable in such lawsuits include:
- Bard recovery filter
- Bard G2 filter
- Bard G2 Express filter
- Cook Gunther Tulip filter
- Cook Celect filter
- Boston Scientific Greenfield filter
Although IVC filters are primarily intended to be a temporary measure to help stabilize a patient, a study of patients who had temporary IVC filters installed found that over 25 percent of them were ultimately unable to have their filters successfully removed. Simply put, the longer a temporary filter is left in the body, the higher the likelihood of it malfunctioning, moving or breaking.
Possible health complications of IVC filters
IVC filters have been FDA approved for years, however this does not change the fact that the devices are fragile and prone to breaking. If an IVC filter breaks, pieces of it can then travel through a patient’s blood stream, causing serious or even deadly injuries – like piercing internal organs (oftentimes the heart itself) or causing blockages in the blood stream.
A malfunctioning IVC filter may also cause an irregular heartbeat, loss of consciousness, irregular breathing or chest pain, heart damage and fluid buildup around the heart. The FDA is collecting more analytical information to assess the risks versus benefits of temporary IVC filters.
Lawsuits stemming from damages caused by IVC filters are voluminous, and involve multiple medical device manufacturers. Cook Medical Group had more than 1,900 lawsuits pending in federal court as of 2017 alleging a defective design, misrepresentative marketing and a failure to warn patients of potential danger.
Günther Tulip IVC filters was the subject of a study that claimed a shocking 100 percent of patients fitted with this device had it puncture their heart within 71 days of being implanted. C.R. Bard has settles cases in the past but still have more than 1,500 cases pending that allege gross negligence in addition to other misconduct.
Let us fight for you
IVC filters are clearly more risky than other medical technologies, judging from the sheer number of active lawsuits compared to the relatively low number of patients who must be fitted with the devices. It is apparent, since multiple manufacturers have had continuous problems with these devices, that there is an inherent danger to the design of these devices, which results in a higher probability for something to go wrong.
If you have had an IVC filter installed within the last few years and have experienced minor or severe health complications as a result, you may be entitled to legal compensation for your pain and trauma suffered. You may be awarded money to recover lost funds from being unable to work or to help pay for costly medical expenses that were thrust onto you due to the negligence of the manufacturers of these devices.
At Altman & Altman LLP, our team of attorneys has the experience and dedication to never stop fighting for you. Call us at 617-492-3000 or toll free at 800-481-6199 for a free consultation today.