Product failure that causes injury to consumers generates many Personal Injury Lawsuits every year. When medical equipment is defective or does not work properly, the patient involved may suffer serious harm or even die as a result of that product failure. In recent years, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed by patients who were harmed when an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter designed to prevent pulmonary emboli (PE) failed to perform properly. When a death occurred, survivors filed lawsuits to recover expenses and their personal non-economic claims.
DVE (deep venous thromboembolism) is a serious medical problem that causes blood clots to form primarily in the lower legs. Blood clots can travel to the heart and other organs; the IVC Filter’s job is to capture those blood clots before they cause harm. Natural anticoagulants found in the blood or added pharmaceutical anticoagulants can then dissolve the clot as it is held within the IVC Filter.
IVC Filters are a relatively new medical device that entered the market for use around 1972. The idea of using some internal device to trap blood clots dates back to around 1865, and this thought was eventually followed in the 1930s by a surgical process of vein ligation. Permanent IVC Filters that could be placed into the inferior vena cava were developed by 1973, and retrievable ones were introduced by 2003 and 2004. In 1999, 49,000 of these filters were used, and an FDA report indicated that by 2012, it was expected that 249,000 would be implanted in patients.
An IVC Filter is supposed to help prevent blot clot problems, especially in people who are unable to take anticoagulant medicines or who are naturally prone to blood clotting. This is a device that is small enough to be inserted into the inferior vena cava, large vein, in the neck or groin area of the body. It is made of light-weight metal, and composed of several long legs that join at the top in a cap that can capture blood clots that are passing from the lower legs toward the heart or lungs.
IVC Filter Failures
Part of the problem with certain IVC Filters is that the thin metal cage-like structure can fracture and release small shards of metal into the blood stream. From that point, the shards may puncture the vein wall or move on to critical organs like the lungs, heart or into the abdominal system. This would cause additional pain and the IVC Filter would no longer function as designed, catching blood clots.
Another issue that has been problematic with IVC Filter use is that sometimes the device itself can become detached from the placement area and migrate into other organs to do harm there. When the entire part or fragments of it lodge in the heart or lungs, it can damage the organ and create new clotting problems. The patient then would either need to have invasive procedures to remove the filter or undergo heart surgery for removal of the device.
The FDA recommends that only removable IVC Filters be used, and only for a short period of time, perhaps one to four months, as soon as protection from pulmonary embolism (PE) is no longer necessary. Studies have shown that long-term use of these filters past two years shows no difference in positive outcomes for patients and that a problem with part fractures tend to occur within a rather short timeframe.
IVC Filter Lawsuit Claims
Claims made in IVC Filter Lawsuits are for personal injury to the patient and expenses involved with treatment, recovery, and/or funeral and burial costs when the patient dies from this problem. Legal actions for this issue are so numerous, ongoing class action lawsuits have been created in California, Pennsylvania and Indiana, in addition to many other individual actions.
The primary claim cited in these lawsuits is negligence by the manufacturer and poor design and manufacture of the product. Additional claims include breach of implied warranty and misrepresentation. Some issues of design relate to the use of metals that are ferromagnetic, like stainless steel. In this case, a patient would not be able to have an MRI diagnosis because of the type of metal used in the IVC Filter. These metals have largely been discontinued in favor of other non-ferromagnetic metals, such as titanium or biocompatible metal alloys.
Specific claims include economic and non-economic damages:
- Medical treatment – additional expenses for treatment and care to resolve the problem, long-term care and rehabilitation
- Work loss – income losses due to additional hospitalization, disability, inability to continue working
- Pain & Suffering – by the patient and their loved ones, loss of lifestyle enjoyment, loss of companionship or consortium, mental/emotional anguish
- Punitive damages – due to manufacturer negligence, not disclosing dangers, deliberate hiding of problems
- Other costs related to product failure – legal costs, insurance issues
Personal Injury Attorney
An experienced Personal Injury Attorney is the best legal professional to consult if you believe you or a loved one has been harmed due to use of an IVC Filter. The attorney will be able to provide advice to you and help you make important decisions about your case. They will have current information about ongoing class action lawsuits you may be able to join in your area.
Filing a lawsuit and winning your case is not a simple matter. It is a lengthy process, and in cases of Personal Injury, most defendants and insurance companies will prefer to make a settlement rather than going on to courtroom litigation. This is cost-efficient and saves time. Some Personal Injury cases that are litigated can last many months to years before the case is completed.
You deserve fair compensation when products are defective or fail to perform. IVC Filter cases generally involve extremely high financial costs to patients, insurance companies and loved ones. Get the competent advice you need from our experienced Personal Injury Attorney who understands the issues involved with IVC Filter lawsuits. There may be time limits for filing claims. Don’t miss your opportunity for justice. Call for your free consultation today.