In what has become a trend within the past several years, a person who was implanted with an IVC filter (inferior vena cava filter) has filed a lawsuit against the device’s manufacturer Cook Medical, claiming the product was defective and led to numerous health problems. According to the latest lawsuit, filed by Texas resident who was identified only as Diane B., it stated she was implanted with the device on April 25, 2011 at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, TX.
According to the lawsuit, after having the IVC filter implanted in her, the plaintiff began to experience various health problems. Upon a medical examination, it was determined the filter, which had been surgically implanted into a vein to catch potentially deadly blood clots, had broken, and thus injured other parts of her body. As a result, the IVC filter lawsuit claims she has suffered extreme pain and suffering, physical and emotional distress, and financial distress due to the accumulation of medical expenses from treatments related to correcting the problem.
This IVC filter lawsuit, which was filed September 11, 2018 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, was the latest in what has been a steady stream of lawsuits against Cook Medical regarding its IVC filter. As of now, there are more than 4,600 lawsuits which are pending against Cook Medical and the IVC filter, all of which allege patients suffered various problems with their filters.
According to previous lawsuits as well as the latest one filed by Diane B., Cook Medical is accused of gross negligence for not only selling a defective medical device to be used in patients, but also for failing to warn doctors and patients about the possible safety risks. If found guilty, the company could be held liable for millions or potentially billions of dollars worth of damages to patients. However, even if the company is found guilty of these charges, legal experts predict Cook Medical will appeal the decision, which could result in the case stretching out for many years. If this happens, it’s possible most patients who filed lawsuits may not see any financial compensation for many years.
In this as well as many other similar cases, the patient’s IVC filter broke from its original position within the vein, resulting in it being tilted. Due to this, surgeons had a much more difficult time attempting to remove it from the patient’s vein. As a result of the filter breaking into multiple pieces within the vein, doctors have been forced to use what is known as a balloon approach during these procedures. When this is done, they use forceps to grasp the IVC filter’s hook, then remove the remaining pieces of the filter one at a time. Unfortunately for many patients, this process results in large amounts of bleeding during surgery, and in some cases has nearly resulted in patients bleeding to death on the operating table.
For patients such as Diane B. and others, once the IVC filter is successfully removed, they then must have stents placed in their veins, which will help to prop up the veins enough for normal blood circulation to occur. Because of this, they accumulate medical bills totaling thousands of dollars, are unable to work for long periods of time, and undergo daily pain and suffering. Thus, lawsuits are filed in an attempt to gain compensation needed to pay these and other bills.
While many patients who have undergone an IVC filter implant have experienced no problems, it’s likely there will be more lawsuits of a similar nature filed in the future.
Learn more about Medical Device Lawsuits.