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Vena Cava IVC Filter
Vena Cava IVC Filter

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Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Virginia Vena Cava IVC Filter Injury Attorneys

Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filters Linked to Serious Injuries and Deaths in Hospitals

When you are treated for a potentially life-threatening illness at a hospital or another medical facility you expect the devices that are used by surgeons to be well tested and safe. However, our Virginia defective medical devices attorneys have highlighted a number of medical devices and appliances that have failed too often, causing serious and sometimes fatal complications in patients. If you or a family member has had surgery or hospitalization caused by an IVC filter, you likely have a significant products liability claim against the makers of the failed medical device.

Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) filters are one of the most recent devices to cause numerous injuries to patients and even fatalities since their introduction into hospitals in 2005. The lawsuits started hitting the courts in 2012 and they are still being filed. Patients claim the filters broke in their bodies, causing serious complications.

What Are IVC Filters?

Inferior vena cava filters are placed in the largest vein in the human body, the vena cava. This vein carries de-oxygenated blood from the lower extremities to the right atrium of the heart and then on to the lungs. IVC filters are in common use for patients who suffer from deep vein thrombosis in their legs to prevent blood clots from breaking off and migrating to the vital organs of the brain, heart, and lungs where they can prove to be deadly.

Surgeons routinely fit IVC filters in patients who face the risk of pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lungs) when other treatments such as anticoagulant therapy are not possible or have proved to be ineffective. The IVC filters associated with serious side effects in patients are produced by C.R. Bard and Cook Group, Inc. There are permanent and retrievable IVC filters. In some cases, retrievable filters have been left for too long in a patient's body, leading to venous thrombotic events and pulmonary embolisms.

IVC Filters are Associated with Migration and Fracturing

The serious problems with IVC filters first became apparent five years ago. In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an advisory warning in which it highlighted a number of serious health problems associated with IVC filters. By the time the FDA had warned doctors, more than 900 reports had been issued of problems with the devices. The most common problems associated with filters are:

  • Migration of Filters – The watchdog agency warned filters were migrating to other parts of the body.
  • Filter Fracture and Break Up – The FDA found parts including legs and struts on the filters were breaking loose and traveling to other parts of patients’ bodies, potentially causing serious complications to important organs. A study in 2012 established that all of the filters manufactured by Cook that were included in the study, fragmented in the study participants’ venal wall within 71 days of being implanted.
  • Embolization – There is evidence that IVC filters have come apart and blocked blood vessels or vascular channels in patients.
  • Infection of IVC filter devices.
  • Blockages that causes swelling of the patient's legs.
  • Lower Limb Deep Vein Thrombosis – IVC filters were meant to treat deep vein thrombosis, but blood clots in the patients' legs may form because of filters migrating.
  • The FDA also highlighted the risk that retrievable IVC filters implanted to safeguard against pulmonary embolisms were not removed when they were no longer needed, posing a fragmentation danger  The reports of adverse events associated with IVC filters contained in the FDA’s 2010 report included:
    1. 328 device migrations
    2. 56 filter fractures
    3. 70 filter perforations in patients.

The FDA Takes Further Action over IVC Filters

In the summer of 2015, the FDA issued a strong warning letter to C.R. Bard, Inc. and Bard Peripheral Vascular, Inc. highlighting eight alleged violations of federal law relating to the safety of its IVC filters.

The devices in question are the G2X Filter, Recovery Filter, G2 Filter, G2 Express Filter, Eclipse, Denali and the Meridian Filter. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated the device and drug company illegally sold adulterated and misbranded IVC Filters and failed to report complications or adverse events. The FDA in its letter cited Bard with additional violations for withholding critical information about the filters from the FDA and public. The strongly worded correspondence from the FDA has provided further fodder in lawsuits brought against the manufacturers of these medical devices. The FDA has received 300 reports of adverse events linked to the Recovery filter alone. A report on NBC news linked the filter to at least 27 deaths.

A 2016 analysis published by the American College of Cardiology indicated IVC filters are being over-used. The author of the study said retrieval rates are low and there is a lack of information about the appropriate use of the filters. Use of the filters has declined in recent years amid health concerns over the devices.

Lawsuits Are Brought Against IVC Filter Manufacturers

The initial lawsuits were filed against C.R. Bard in California and Pennsylvania state courts three years ago, claiming the filters injured patients. In 2014, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated lawsuits from 11 districts into Multidistrict Litigation filed in the Southern District of Indiana. Whether you are from Virginia, North Carolina or West Virginia, we will help determine with you what court and group of cases it makes sense to join.

In Feb. 2015, C.R. Bard settled a case with Kevin Philips 10 days after the trial began. Philips alleged the Bard Recovery IVC filter fractured inside his body and one of the small metal legs migrated to his heart, perforating it. The subsequent laceration forced him to have open heart surgery and a lengthy recovery.

Thousands more cases are in the courts. Plaintiffs claim the manufacturers of IV filters fraudulently concealed the dangers of the devices and failed to test them properly.

In the fall of 2015, court documents suggested that more than 50 IVC filter lawsuits were pending in the District of Arizona. In these lawsuits patients claimed that the Recovery and G2 devices had perforated the vena cava, tilted or came apart causing further complications.  Bard has been accused of failing to provide surgeons with sufficient warnings about how vital it is to remove these filters when a patient is no longer in danger of suffering blood clots.

In October 2017, a woman from California sued Cook Medical LLC over its Celect Inferior Vena Cava Filter accusing the company of negligence for failing to warn about its side-effects. The lawsuit was centralized with 4,500 other IVC filter lawsuits that are pending in multi-district legislation.

Cook won a 'bellwether' case in a federal court in Evanville in Indiana in November 2017. In 2018, a jury in Arizona awarded a woman who was hurt by a Bard IVC filter $3.6 million.

Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers has helped patients who have been injured by a wide range of dangerous medical devices and drugs. We make sure you get experienced representation and that your claim will be properly handled among other claims in the mass tort legislation. It’s important to act fast as deadlines exist on these as with any injury or wrongful death claims. Call us at 757.455.0077 or toll free at 866.455.6657 for a free and confidential consultation.

John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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