In a recent court case in Texas, a jury found in favor of a local firefighter who had filed a Cook IVC filter lawsuit against Cook Medical for injuries he claimed were sustained due to having an IVC filter implanted in him several years ago. An Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) filter is a small device that can stop blood clots from going into the lungs. The firefighter, awarded $1.2 million as compensation, had numerous injuries resulting from the filter, including perforations of blood vessels and organs. Having received the filter in 2015, firefighter Jeffrey Pavlock was told it would be implanted in him as a temporary measure, to prevent dangerous blood clots from entering his lungs and heart. However, problems later ensued.
Removing the Filter
After the filter had been in Mr. Pavlock’s body for several months, doctors decided the blood clots had passed, and the IVC filter could be removed. However, when surgeons went to do so, they found the filter had unexpectedly moved from its original location within the patient’s body, and had in fact embedded itself into a blood vessel. In addition to this complication, the filter’s legs had also moved and perforated Mr. Pavlock’s small intestine and aorta, creating a very dangerous situation. Upon finding these developments during the first surgery, doctors decided to analyze the situation, then attempt a second surgery later on. However, this attempt was also unsuccessful, leading to Mr. Pavlock requiring extended medical treatment.
IVC Filter Complications
Based on reports filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, IVC filters have so far been linked to 39 deaths, with thousands more patients claiming they too have experienced major health problems due to defective filters. Designed to resemble cages, IVC filters are supposed to be implanted in a patient for 30-60 days, during which the filters can catch blood clots that might otherwise move into a patient’s heart, lungs, legs, or brain, possibly resulting in death. However, many experts believe the problem stems from implanting the filters in the inferior vena cava, the human body’s largest vein. According to expert analysis, the filter becomes embedded in this vein time after time, or instead breaks loose and embeds itself in blood vessels or organs.
Thousands of Cook IVC Filter Lawsuits
Currently, a patient filling a Cook IVC filter lawsuit is joining more than 8,000 others doing the same. While some of these lawsuits are in state courts, the vast majority are in federal courts. Due to the volume of lawsuits being filed, the majority of federal lawsuits have been merged together so that they could proceed through the court system at a faster rate, allowing litigants to have their cases resolved in a more timely manner.
Due to the high volume of cases involving IVC filters, the courts are currently proceeding with what are known as Bellwether cases. In these trials, the courts attempt to litigate several cases that are representative of the overall number of cases. By doing so, attorneys and clients can attempt to see if they believe their cases should move forward, since they will have a general idea as to how the court may rule. Based on the results from Bellwether cases, some patients choose to move forward, often leading to their lawyers reaching settlements with the defendants. However, other patients may choose to drop their lawsuits, believing they have little chance of winning.
As more lawsuits are constantly being filed regarding IVC filters, state and federal courts will attempt to provide as many rulings as possible. By doing so, they can streamline the cases within the system, allowing patients the time and facts needed to make their next decision.
Learn more about Medical Device Lawsuits.