Morgan & Morgan is investigating claims related to the ability of a medical device called an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter to cause serious personal injuries to recipients, including organ perforation, punctured veins, and death.
IVC filters are small, cage-like devices that are implanted in the inferior vena cava—the main blood vessel running from the lower half of the body to the heart—to prevent a blood clot in the heart or lungs. The filters, however, allegedly have a design defect that can cause them to break apart or migrate within the body. Lawsuits have been filed against IVC manufacturers claiming that the devices are defective and that manufacturers concealed the device’s health risks.
If you or a loved one has been implanted with an IVC filter and suffered injuries from a filter that fractured and migrated, Morgan & Morgan’s class action lawyers would like to hear from you. Contact us to speak with a lawyer for free about your case.
Why are IVC Filters Potentially Dangerous?
Patients may have recently heard about dangers associated with IVC filters from an NBC News Report on the devices. In that report, NBC details how a woman who had been in a car accident and was at high risk for blood clots received an IVC filter. The woman subsequently suffered a medical event and nearly died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. Doctors found that a piece of the IVC filter had broken off and pierced her heart. She underwent emergency surgery and had a one-inch piece of metal removed from her heart.
This story demonstrates the dangers associated with IVC filters. Implanted in patients who are at-risk for blood clots but are not good candidates for blood thinner medications, the devices are designed to trap blood clots that originate in the lower body and prevent them from traveling to the heart or lungs, where clots can be fatal. But some of these filters appear to have a design defect that causes the device to migrate or fracture. The entire filter or pieces of it can break free from the implant site and travel to the heart or lungs, perforating the organs and causing serious injury or death. A broken filter can also damage the vena cava itself and nearby blood vessels.
Over a 5-year period, the FDA received nearly 1,000 adverse event reports related to IVC filters. In a 2010 risk communication, the FDA noted 328 patient complaints of device migration, 146 complaints of detachment of device components, 70 complaints of IVC perforation, and 56 complaints of filter fracture. In a subsequent report, the FDA concluded that, for certain patients, the risks of an IVC filter outweighs its potential benefits.
Manufacturer May Have Withheld Risks From Public
NBC News reports that a major device manufacturer, CF Bard, knew about dangers with one type of IVC filter but failed to share this information with the public, unnecessarily placing patients at risk.
The “Bard Recovery” filter made by CF Bard—associated with 27 fatalities and hundreds of injuries—gained fast-track FDA-approval based on its “substantial equivalence” to other types of IVC filters already on the market. Device approval was granted due to Bard’s assertion that the Recovery IVC was as safe as or safer than older types of IVC filters.
But a report commissioned by Bard and obtained by NBC News suggests that the device maker knew as early as 2004 that the Recovery device was more dangerous than older IVC filters. According to NBC, the report shows that, compared to all of its competitors, the Recovery device was more likely to fracture, migrate, and cause patient death. The doctor who commissioned the report warned Bard that further investigation was urgently needed, but the company declined to offer a recall. Thousands of patients still have the Bard filter device implanted in them.
Talk for Free With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Lawsuits have already been filed against Bard and other IVC device manufacturers in courts across the country. All current CR Bard IVC filter lawsuits are currently consolidated in a mass tort in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona (Bard IVC Filters Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2641).
Morgan & Morgan attorneys are speaking with clients who may have been harmed by IVC filters and assessing the potential for additional lawsuits. Learn more about your legal rights and how Morgan & Morgan helps injured medical device users during a free case review with one of our nationally-recognized attorneys.