In many cases, the failure of an IVC filter can mean surgery to remove pieces of the device that have broken off and migrated to other areas within the patient’s body. Migration of the device as well as perforation of veins and organs are among the numerous adverse effects that have triggered thousands of IVC filter failure lawsuits around the country. Cook Medical has been at the center of many of them.
An Indianapolis jury heard a tale of a different kind of complication, however, when it was told the story of Georgia resident Tonya Brand. Ms. Brand was able to remove part of her own IVC filter after it had broken through the surface of her thigh. As if adding insult to injury, surgeons have determined that Ms. Brand will have to live the rest of her life with other parts of the broken-up device in her body as their locations do not allow for a safe removal.
This is, unfortunately, more common than one may think.
IVC filters are small, spider-like devices that are placed inside a large vein called the inferior vena cava. This vein carries high volumes of blood to the heart. An IVC filter is put in place to stop blood clots from reaching the heart or lungs and causing a pulmonary embolism. Lawsuits claim that manufacturing defects, along with problems with the devices’ design, make them susceptible to breakage, migration, and other adverse effects.
Though there have been numerous verdicts handed down in IVC filter failure trials over recent years, the results have been mixed. In some cases; including bellwether trails used to set the tone for ongoing multidistrict litigation, juries have found in favor of the manufacturers. In others, juries have found multi-million-dollar verdicts for plaintiffs.
Litigation over the matter is ongoing as observers on both sides wait to see if one side will start to eventually gain traction. According to Ms. Brand’s lawyers, this case represents one of the first times that a jury actually found the filters themselves to be defective. If this proves to be true and a repeatable design flaw can be found to exist, it may open the door for a flood of new decisions in favor of plaintiffs nationwide.