A blood clot diagnosis can change your life. In some situations, doctors may want to prevent blood clots from reaching the lungs by inserting a medical device called an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter.
While the IVC filters prescribed are intended to save lives, unfortunately, these medical devices are linked to serious side effects. The safety of these devices are not well-established—nor are their effectiveness—so doctors tend to use them only in high-risk situations. These high-risk patients are then at risk for additional dangerous injuries that the IVC filters themselves may cause.
You should not have to exchange the fear of blood clots with the fear of serious health conditions caused by your IVC filter. Too many people have suffered injuries due to these devices, yet companies continue to sell them and doctors continue to use them. Hundreds of people have reported injuries due to their IVC filters and have incurred unnecessary medical expenses due to their unexpected side effects.
If your IVC filter resulted in serious injuries, you have the right to take action and seek compensation for your injuries and losses. Like any medication or medical device-related case, however, these complicated mass tort claims can involve hundreds of plaintiffs in a court with special rules and procedures. These claims differ substantially from other types of injury claims, so you must find the right attorney to help protect your rights.
With more than 20 years of experience and thousands of victories under our belts, At the law office of Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, our attorneys regularly tackle complex mass tort and medical device cases head-on. Our firm has battled Big Pharma and medical device companies for years—and we have a proven track record of beating them at their own game. You never pay a DIME unless we are successful in settling your claim. Call us at (800) 898-4877 or click HERE to send us a question or get more information!
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What Is an IVC Filter?
An IVC filter is a medical device inserted into the body with the intention to prevent blood clots from reaching the lungs. The device itself looks like a small cage—much like an umbrella structure without the fabric. Doctors implant this little cage into the inferior vena cava—the largest vein in the human body. Usually by going through the neck or groin.
Once implanted, the IVC filter’s intention is to catch blood clots as they move through the vein. The clot gets caught in the cage while blood can still pass through. With time, the trapped clot should dissipate, no longer posing the threat of reaching the lungs. This type of treatment is common in people with a known history or high risk of developing blood clots, such as after surgeries or bad injuries. Common reasons for IVC filters include:
- Recently giving birth
- Gunshot wounds or stab wounds
- Car accident injuries
- Serious falls
- Spinal cord injury
- Cancer treatment
- Dialysis treatment
- Emergency surgeries
Hundreds of thousands of people receive IVC filters each year in the United States. In recent years, researchers expressed concern that the overuse of these devices put people at unnecessary risk of potentially serious complications.
The main types of IVC filters used today include:
- Bard Recovery Filter
- Bard G2 Filter
- Bard G2 Express Filter
- Boston Scientific Greenfield Filter
- Cook Gunther Tulip Filter
- Cook Celect Filter
Some IVC filters are permanent, while others are intended for temporary use. Doctors can (and should) remove the temporary IVC filters once the blood clot risk subsides. However, many doctors fail to notify the patient of its temporal intention, let alone remove the temporary filters once the risk of blood clots passes.
Potential IVC Filter Injuries
IVC filters can save lives, but they can also result in life-threatening complications. As with any medical device, the IVC filter must stay in place in order to maintain effectiveness. If the filter shifts or migrates from its intended position, the patient can suffer serious consequences. Complications and injuries can also occur during the insertion or retrieval of the filter. The following information deals with the complications and injuries common with IVC filters.
Complications During Insertion
As with any surgical procedure, errors can cause injuries to the patient during the insertion of an IVC filter. Some such injuries include:
- A surgeon inserts the filter in the wrong place or position in the vein
- The surgical site contains excessive bruising or bleeding
- The surgeon punctures a blood vessel
- Defective deployment can cross or twist the legs of the filter
- Any of the above can result in the need for otherwise unnecessary medical treatments and recovery time for the patient.
- Complications During Retrieval
- Complications can occur during the removal process or that may prevent the removal of the filter altogether. These include:
- A large clot stuck in the filter, preventing the surgeon from removing it
- Perforation of a blood vessel during removal
- Scarred veins at the place of insertion, preventing removal of the filter
- Other complications during removal, which can cause prolonged surgery times, heightening risks
Complications with Prolonged Use
Sometimes, to avoid the risks of retrieving the filter, doctors will choose to leave the filter in the vein for an unnecessarily prolonged period. This choice can lead to its own set of risks and complications.
IVC filters left in the body for long times, or permanently, can cause injuries upon malfunction.
First, the filter can shift from its intended position. This means the patient is no longer protected and can suffer a pulmonary embolism due to a blood clot reaching the lungs.
Second, and perhaps the most serious complication occurs when the filter completely migrates from the area of the vein where doctors inserted and intended it to stay. The filter can migrate to another part of the vein or even to the heart or other major organs. Once the filter has moved out of position, the legs of the device may perforate the vein or an organ. The device can also embed itself in the wall of a vein or an organ wall.
Other risks include:
- Part of the device fractures and causes embedding or perforation
- A large blockage in the device causes deep vein thrombosis or swelling of the legs
- Infection where the device is placed or where it has migrated
All of the above can threaten a patient’s life—and if a device migrates, retrieval of the device can grow significantly more difficult. An embedded device can prove almost impossible to remove, depending on the location. Patients who experience these complications often live knowing that the IVC filter is in the wrong place, and that they, therefore, face the risk of perforation—and that they no longer receive protection from a pulmonary embolism. This can feel traumatic, to say the least, and treatments for any of these complications can prove costly.
Legal Issues Regarding IVC Filters
The FDA has reviewed hundreds of cases involving injuries from IVC filters and has issued numerous warnings about these medical devices. However, many people unknowingly agree to use the filters and experience unexpected complications. Hundreds of people are involved in legal claims against the manufacturers of IVC filters, especially Bard and Cook Medical, Inc. Those injured are seeking fair compensation for the losses incurred due to IVC filter-related injuries.
Device perforation can cause pulmonary embolism the treatment of which can cost huge amounts of money. Many individuals who suffer this injury require surgeries, which results in long recovery times, during which they can suffer many other losses. Some damages that injured IVC filter patients can seek for compensation include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Lost earning ability
- Pain and suffering
- Dismemberment, scarring, and disfigurement
- Permanent disability and impairment
- Physical and mental trauma
Unfortunately, these injuries can also cause irreversible damage by way of death. Families who have lost loved ones due to an IVC filter injury have brought claims for wrongful death against the manufacturers.
The majority of IVC filter claims assert that the manufacturers negligently designed, produced, and sold defective and dangerous products. Other claims include that the companies misrepresented the product in marketing and that they failed to properly warn doctors and potential patients of the risks of injury associated with the device.
Mass Tort IVC Filter Litigation
If you have suffered organ damage, device migration, device fracture, blood clots, or the passing of a loved one due to an IVC filter, you may have the right to financial recovery. It’s important to know that due to the large number of injured parties, IVC filter cases now differ from a typical personal injury claim.
After most injuries, you would need to hire an attorney to handle negotiations between you and the negligent party. Your attorney then works to get the party to agree to a fair settlement to cover your losses, which can be settled either pre-litigation or though litigation/in court.
In cases involving medical devices that have hurt a mass of people across the country, causing multiple parties to seek compensation from various areas of the United States. Instead of hundreds of courts handling thousands of individual cases, the courts will merge them into multidistrict litigation (MDL). More plaintiffs can then join in the litigation to seek compensation for their individual injuries. Mass tort litigation can prove more efficient for injured plaintiffs as they can all prove the same claims against the company Simultaneously. While these cases are made stronger by banning together, providing strength in numbers, these cases also require plaintiffs and their attorneys to follow more complicated rules and requirements.
Currently, Cook Medical and Bard are each facing one MDL case against them. If you were injured by an IVC filter manufactured by either of these companies, speak with an attorney who can evaluate your rights to join the litigation. If yours or a loved one’s injuries occurred due to an IVC filter made by a different company, you can still take action, though it may require a separate case at this point in time as opposed to joining in on the current mass tort litigation.
Products Liability Claims
Anytime you’re injured by a defective product—whether it is medically related or not—you will likely be going up against a large corporation worth millions or even billions of dollars. These manufacturers foresee the potential for injuries, and preemptively have employed extensive legal teams and insurance carriers, all of which are ready to fight against the corporations liability.
Facing off with a major company in court is intimidating. After all, these companies have resources and funds that you likely do not have. This is why it’s imperative that you have the right law firm handling your case, assuming that you don’t have to hesitate to fight for your rights to fair compensation. Our law office, and the other superior law offices we work with, has the experience and resources necessary to stand up to big companies both in insurance claims and in lawsuits, including mass tort cases. We never shy away from tough cases—we welcome these cases without hesitation because you deserve to have the best possible representation to fight for your interests knowing you or your loved one hurt through no fault of your own. We know the tactics of large pharmaceutical and medical companies and we will not back down in order to protect your rights!
Our IVC Filter Attorneys Can Help You!
The attorneys at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, has, and works with an outisde team of dedicated attorneys who understand how to handle complicated medical injury and mass tort cases. We have years of experience standing up for clients to all types of parties, including major corporations. Our experienced intake staff will evaluate your situation for FREE and will advise you of your rights.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to an IVC filter or another type of medical device, do not delay in calling our office for more information. Please (800) 898-4877 or contact us now by clicking HERE to schedule your free consultation.