Patients with Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) filter implants should be aware of their risks - and their rights - when it comes to these devices. According to some physicians, these tiny devices, which are surgically inserted into the heart and designed to intercept blood clots, may be ticking time bombs. The FDA, which regulates medical devices such as IVC filters, tends to agree, having issued a number of warnings about the dangers associated with the technology over the past few years.
Several medical studies have also shown that poorly designed or manufactured IVC filters may break off into shards, posing a deadly threat to the very same person they were intended to protect. These shards then enter the bloodstream and can perforate organs and cause other problems.
$1.2 Million Jury Award for Texas Firefighters Harmed by IVC Filter
It was just this kind of situation that lead to a recent lawsuit in Texas in which a firefighter who had received a Cook Celect IVC filter sued the manufacturer for injuries related to their implant. The plaintiff allegedly suffered perforations of the blood vessels and organs, leading to dire health issues. He was then forced to undergo two additional surgeries to remove the device, the shards, and to repair the perforations he'd suffered. Fortunately for him, the Texas jury found a verdict in his favor and awarded the firefighter $1.2 in damages.
IVC Filter Lawsuits Continue
The suit on behalf of the firefighter in Texas is one of approximately 8,000 similar suits making their way through federal court. At the heart of the issue is the failure of certain manufacturers of IVC filters to warn physicians and patients of the dangerous side effects that might arise from the filters, including migration, perforation, embolization, and punctures. The two largest manufacturers involved in the litigation are C.R. Bard and Cook Medical. Other IVC filter makers, Rex Medical, Argon Medical, and B. Braun also face lawsuits in state and federal courts.