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Things You Should Know About IVC Filters

1. What is an IVC filter and what is its primary purpose?

An IVC filter is an implantable medical device. IVC stands for “Inferior vena cava.” The IVC is the largest vein in the body, responsible for collecting blood in the lower half of the body and circulating it to the upper half of the body. This blood then travels to the heart to be re-circulated throughout the body. The devices are small in size and implanted into the inferior vena cava. The device can be either permanent or retrievable. When it is permanent, device remains inside the body in order to catch and break down blood clots before they become harmful to the body. The retrievable devices are placed temporarily to catch blood clots and removed once the risk of blood clots traveling to the heart has passed. These blood clots, if untreated, can find their way into the heart and/or lungs. The bloods are then referred to as “pulmonary emboli” and can be fatal to the affected person.

2. What Are The Risks Associated With IVC Filters?

The FDA received reports of adverse effects and symptoms associated with the use of retrievable IVC filters. Some serious problems associated with the device include: device migration (this can cause blood-flow to wrongly pass into the heart or cause device failure, meaning blood clots continue developing in the body), filter fracture, embolization (movement of the filter or fracture fragments to the heart or lungs), perforation of the device (which puts the user at high risk for internal bleeding), and embedment of the device (which makes the device difficult or impossible to remove, causing a once removable device to remain permanently).

3. What Devices Are Being Named In These Suits?

Some of the devices in question with the IVC law suits include the Cook Celect filter, the Cook Günther Tulip filter, the Bard Recovery filter, the Bard G2 filter, the Bard G2 Express filter, the Cordis Trapease filter, the Cordis Optease filter, the Agron Option filter, and the Argon OptionElite filter.

4. According To Current Law Suits, What Are The Alleged Reasons For The Adverse Events That Have Occurred As A Result Of Using The IVC Filter Devices?

Current lawsuits against IVC filter companies are claiming that these adverse events are the result of negligence on behalf of the manufacturers, failure to warn consumers about the potential dangers of the product, manufacturing and design defects, breach of implied warranty, and misrepresentation of the efficacy of the devices by the manufacturers. Specifically, in the claims against C.R. Bard and Cook Medical, plaintiffs claim that the companies manufactured a defective device that they knew or had reason to know was defective. Additionally, they continued to sell the defective devices for profit without issuing any warnings of the risks of filter failure to the public.

5. What Type Of Damages Can Someone Expect To Receive In A Claim Against These Companies?

The types and amounts of damages that an individual can expect to receive from a lawsuit against these companies depend entirely on the specific facts of the individual’s case. Typically, when an individual sues a manufacturer, the individual is asking the manufacturer to be held accountable for his/her pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. Examples of questions that a jury might consider include: what type of injuries were sustained as a result of implantation of the defective IVC filter?; how long was the patient out of work due to injuries sustained, and what was their earning potential?; did the injury require hospitalization?; how many people are financially or otherwise dependent on the affected patient?; etc.

6. How Much Time Would Someone Have To File An Ivc Filter Lawsuit?

In Florida, an individual has four years from the date of the cause of action to file a lawsuit. This means that he/she can file an IVC filter lawsuit within four years of the date that their injuries first occurred – not the date that the individual received the implantation.

7. What Evidence Is Important In These Cases?

In any type of personal injury case, including products liability claims, the medical records are the most important pieces of evidence. It is important to keep up to date medical records and make sure all doctor visits, symptoms, and injuries are documented.

8. What is the status of the IVC Filter lawsuits? Are the IVC Filter lawsuits currently taking place in an MDL or Class Action suit?

Currently, there are several thousand individual claims against the IVC Filter manufacturers Bard and Cook. In fact, over 25 deaths have been connected to these defective IVC filters. In February 2015, in Nevada, the first claim was settled to plaintiff Kevin Phillips, who required open heart surgery to repair the injuries sustained from the dangerous implanted IVC device. The settlement amount was not released. Because so many actions were pending against these companies, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decided in 2015 to combine the majority of these cases into a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). Currently, individual IVC filter suits are overseen by two judges – one for Cook IVC filters, and another for Bard IVC filters. The purpose of a MDL is to streamline the discovery and ruling process, avoiding different rulings and procedures applied by different courts. A MDL is typically preferable to class action lawsuits with product liability claims, since MDL claims can remain independent – unlike class action suits where all plaintiffs are forced to accept the general settlement and verdict given to all claimants.

Attorney Robert Fenstersheib

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