According to The Indianapolis Star, IVC filter company Cook Group will have a new president come this July. Current president Kem Hawkins will step down next month after 14 years in the position. He will be replaced by the current president of Cook Medical, Pete Yonkman, who joined Cook the same year Hawkins became president.
As president of Cook Group, Yonkman will have to attend to a slew of Cook inferior vena cava (IVC) filter lawsuits. Plaintiffs in Cook IVC filter lawsuits claim they were injured by failed Cook Celect and Gunther Tulip IVC filters. Cook has been accused of marketing its products without adequate testing and failing to properly warn doctors and patients of the risks posed by its IVC filters.
IVC filters like those manufactured by Cook have been in use for roughly 50 years, with hundreds of thousands of devices implanted in the United States. The Cook Celect and Gunther Tulip IVC filters are spider-like devices that are inserted into the vena cava to prevent blood clots from forming and travelling throughout the body. They are intended to reduce the risk of strokes and other life-threatening events. However, the devices have proven to be potentially fatal. Research has found that fragments of IVC filters, and sometimes entire devices, can break away and become lodged in vital organs.
Furthermore, Cook Celect and Gunther Tulip IVC filters have been found to pose a very high risk of vena caval perforation. An April 2012 study published in CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology found that of the 27 Celect and 23 Gunther Tulip IVC filters observed, all exhibited some degree of vena caval perforation after 71 days. Additionally, 40 percent were observed to have become tilted or misaligned within the vena cava. Cook IVC filter lawsuits have been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
It has long been known that IVC filters pose a high risk of failure if left un-retrieved. In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety communication warning about the dangers of long-term IVC filter use. According to the agency, 921 adverse event reports about IVC filters were submitted between 2005 and the date of the communication. The reports included problems ranging from filter fracture and migration to perforation of the inferior vena cava.
Cook Group is not the only IVC filter manufacturer that has been targeted by lawsuits. C. R. Bard, Inc., has seen hundreds of IVC filter lawsuits in recent years. Plaintiffs in lawsuits against Bard allege that as early as 2003, the company possessed data showing that their Recovery IVC filter posed an unreasonably high risk of injury due to splintering or dislocation. Bard allegedly did not inform the FDA of this unreasonable risk, and continued to market the potentially dangerous device. In May, plaintiffs in Bard IVC filter lawsuits filed a motion to consolidate their cases before a single judge in a multidistrict litigation.
While the bulk of IVC filter lawsuits have yet to go to trial, some cases are already being settled. Earlier this year, Lopez McHugh IVC filter attorneys succeeded in securing damages for a plaintiff in the second Bard IVC filter lawsuit in the nation to go to trial.
Consult your health care provider about any health concerns you may have. If you or someone close was injured by a failed Cook or Bard IVC filter, contact Lopez McHugh today to speak for free with one of our experienced attorneys. Our IVC filter lawyers can help you determine if a Cook or Bard IVC filter lawsuit is right for you and your family.