IVC (inferior vena cava) filters are often used in patients with a history of blood clots. They are designed to catch potential blood clots that may travel from the legs or pelvis to the lungs or heart, preventing fatal complications. Yet, these tiny devices can themselves cause severe and, in some cases, deadly injury. At the very least, they can fail to prevent blood clots from traveling up the body.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury or death due to a defective IVC filter, call the IVC filter lawsuit attorneys at Steinger, Iscoe & Greene today at (800) 916-8108 for a free consultation. You shouldn’t have to suffer physically, emotionally and financially due to a defective product. We’ve recovered over $1 billion on behalf of our clients, and we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
IVC filters are tiny, spider-like devices made from wire. In patients with a history of blood clots, especially deep vein thrombosis, the risk of of a blood clot traveling from the legs to the heart or lungs (pulmonary embolism) is higher than usual. Often, doctors will first use medicine, such as anticoagulants like Xarelto, to deal with blood clots. When medicine doesn’t work, or a patient can’t take it for some reason, the doctor may instead order an IVC filter be implanted.
This filter is placed just below the kidneys in the inferior vena cava, which is the largest vein in the body. If a clot is caught in the filter, it’s naturally broken down by anticoagulants in the blood as blood continues to flow around the filter. At least, that’s how IVC filters are designed to work.
Though there have been very few long-term studies proving the efficacy and safety of IVC filters, they are used in about 250,000 patients every year. Even when the filters don’t malfunction, patients who have them implanted still suffer from pulmonary embolisms, and have a higher risk of deep vein thrombosis.
On top of the fact that their effectiveness is questionable at best, IVC filters have been the cause for hundreds of complaints to the Food and Drug Administration. In response, the FDA has issued recalls for many different brands and makes of these filters.
One of the most common reasons IVC filters can be dangerous is their tendency to migrate. They are designed to hook into the vein in order to stay put. However, this function can fail, and the filter can tip over or even move elsewhere, causing damage as it moves along. This damage often includes perforation (puncturing) of the vein or nearby organs. In fact, the filter may rip away from the vein, perforating it and allowing the filter to migrate.
In addition, these filters can also fracture. If parts of the IVC filter break off, the small pieces can easily travel throughout the body. This can be incredibly dangerous. If those pieces enter the lungs, heart or even the brain, they can cause serious, and sometimes fatal, damage to those organs.
In response to these dangers, many manufacturers have introduced removable filters, which are designed to be removed once the patient has been medically cleared. However, the removal procedure can be difficult, or could fail altogether. Some of the most common reasons removal goes wrong include:
Because of these complications, among other reasons, temporary filters are only removed about a third of the time. Yet, it’s extremely dangerous to leave them in. After five years, there is a 40 percent chance the filter will fracture. As such, the FDA warns against leaving IVC filters in place any longer than absolutely necessary.
In cases of defective IVC filters, it’s usually the manufacturer that’s held liable. The most common targets are C.R. Bard and Cook Medical. Of the numerous lawsuits against these companies, the specific filters named are:
The case against C.R. Bard was featured in a special report by NBC Nightly News. Within the special, it was reported that hundreds of non-fatal injuries and dozens of deaths were connected to Bard G2 and Recovery filters. Yet, Bard continued to sell them, allegedly covering up these issues, which put hundreds of thousands more people at risk.
If your filter caused injury because it was left inside your body for longer than it needed to be, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your doctor under medical malpractice law. However, there are many stipulations for a lawsuit such as this. It’s important to speak with an attorney to discuss whether or not your case qualifies for a suit.
Class action lawsuits are currently being filed against C.R. Bard, and other lawsuits have been filed against Cook Medical. If you have been injured by an IVC filter, you may qualify to be a part of a class action or to file a lawsuit on your own. Call the IVC filter lawsuit attorneys at Steinger, Iscoe & Greene today to discuss your legal options.
During your free initial consultation, we will review all the details of your case, including the damage done and who could be held liable, and discuss different ways to move forward. Let us fight for justice on your behalf. Call us at (800) 916-8108 today.