Facts and Issues Surrounding IVC Filter Lawsuits

Perhaps you have heard of the Bard inferior vena cava filter (IVC) which has been the subject of a number of lawsuits from consumers who suffered injury as a direct result of the filter. The filter is a small device, constructed like a tiny cage with metal wires which are intended to trap blood clots before they can reach the lungs. Although blood thinning drugs are still used for patients with a blood clot, some patients are unable to take these drugs, therefore they are left with the IVC filter. The IVC filter is inserted into the largest vein in the patient’s belly.

This vein returns blood from the legs to the heart. In the beginning, IVC filters were permanent, however retrievable filters began replacing permanent filters more and more often for patients who required the filter. These retrievable filters were intended to be left in the patient’s body for three to eight weeks, yet many of them were left in the patient’s vein permanently. Many serious complications, and even fatalities, have been linked to these retrievable IVC filters which were not removed from the patient as they should have been.

Inferior Vena Cava Filter Lawsuits

C.R. Bard, faced the first IVC lawsuit in 2012, in the state of California. By 2014, IVC lawsuits from eleven districts were consolidated in the Southern District of Indiana. Following that MDL, more than 22 lawsuits were centralized in Arizona. Some of the lawsuits associated with the Bard IVC filter include:

  • The first IVC filter lawsuit, brought to trial in February 2015, was settled by Bard, after Kevin Phillips claimed a Bard IVC filter broke after being implanted inside his body. One of the small metal “legs” of the device traveled to Phillips’ heart, perforating it and resulting in open heart surgery and a lengthy recovery period. Allegations from Phillips included claims that the IVC filter was defectively designed and manufactured and that the potential risks of the device were hidden by Bard.
  • After her Bard IVC retrievable filter fractured, lodging a metal shard into her right ventricle, Lisa Davis sued Bard. Davis suffered ongoing heart issues for two years following the insertion of the IVC filter. Because she chose to avoid open heart surgery and all its risk, Davis now faces a lifetime of taking blood thinning drugs with their own problems. Davis claimed the IVC filter had an unacceptably high rate of fracture, and, like Phillips, Davis also claimed Bard was fully aware of the device’s defective design, yet continued marketing it to the public.
  • In 2012, a class action suit against Bard was filed in Philadelphia by Shantel and Golden Brown. Both lawsuits claimed the patients received and IVC filter, but were unaware of the potential health hazards associated with the filters. Both lawsuits claimed negligence, failure to warn and design and manufacturing defects.
  • A lawsuit filed in late 2015 by a Texas woman claimed Bard’s IVC filters are unreasonably dangerous, causing her to suffer severe cardiac complications, and permanently damaging her heart. Apparently, a piece of the IVC filter broke away and lodged in her heart.

Bard Bellwether Trials

In August 2016, Judge Richard L. Young, the judge in the Southern District of Indiana, picked the first Bard IVC filter bellwether cases out of the hundreds filed. The first plaintiff chosen was Elizabeth Hill of Florida. Hill’s IVC filter imbedded itself into the intestine, puncturing the vein. Hill experienced severe gastrointestinal problems, vomiting, abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea and fatigue, as a result of the puncture.

Was Bard Negligent?

Among the hundreds of lawsuits filed against Bard for injuries resulting from an IVC retrievable filter, some of the plaintiffs claimed filter perforations, others device migrations, and still others, filter fractures. Additionally, many patients with an IVF filter have suffered embolisms as well. One study concluded that while those who suffer traumatic injuries face a life-threatening risk of blood clots, IVC filters don’t actually give those patients a better survival rate. Bard’s IVC retrievable filters have been associated with at least 27 deaths, as well as hundreds of injuries. Despite the fact that Bard was apparently aware of some of the flaws associated with the IVC filter, the company decided to keep these items on the market for five years, selling more than 160,000 across the nation.

Getting the Help You Need from an Experienced Alabama Attorney

If you have suffered an injury resulting from an IVC retrievable filter, and that injury has resulted in serious medical issues, pain, medical expenses and time away from work, you could benefit from speaking to one of our Huntsville, Alabama IVC filter attorneys. The attorneys at Martinson & Beason have extensive experience helping people just like you. We not only have a thorough understanding of dangerous medical devices, we also understand the necessary medical treatments involved with those injuries. Don’t face such a serious injury on your own—call Martinson & Beason today.