For patients unable to take blood-thinning medications, doctors commonly place a removable filter in a major vein of their body called the inferior vena cava (IVC) to lower their risk of developing pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in the lung). IVC filters are designed to manually sort through blood and trap clots before they reach organs of the body. Although the device aids a vital and complex body function, the placement of the IVC filter is surprisingly simple. Doctors place the collapsed wiry device through a small incision and lead it through a patient’s veins, typically in the neck or groin area. Once in the veins, the filter eventually becomes placed in the IVC. The device then immediately expands and begins working to filter blood coming from the lower body, which carries oxygen upward to the heart and lungs through the IVC vein. The device should be removed within several months after it has been placed, once the risk of developing blood clots for the patient no longer exists. Unfortunately, this seldom happens.
As a result, while lifesaving for some patients, for others complications caused by leaving this device in their body can be deadly. This happens when the IVC filter placement proves to be unstable, or later, if the device gets lodged, broken, or ends up in remote areas of the body. These potential problems become magnified because the chance of successful retrieval or removal of the IVC filter for most patients, unfortunately, remains low. Individuals who have IVC filters, commonly high-risk patients, often cannot undergo a removal surgery because of the threat of blood clots under anesthesia. Therefore, surgical removal of the IVC filter for them is sometimes not an option. Even for those patients not facing this risk, if the device has migrated or released fragments in the bloodstream, doctors can experience difficulty in locating the filter or its broken pieces, despite using the latest technology. Finding an IVC fragment, however, often still does no good, as doctors have limited success in removing broken parts or the entire IVC device. Sadly, the longer the filter remains in the body, the less likely the chances for a successful removal. When the device has not malfunctioned but cannot be removed, patients face the danger of a “ticking time bomb” remaining in their body, as it could fracture or move at some point in the future.
Responsibility for the dangerous problems caused by these defective IVC filters rests with the manufacturers that made and negligently promoted them. Manufacturers such as Bard and Cook failed to stop distributing the IVC filter devices, even after warnings from the FDA and reports of serious injury to users of the product surfaced. Further, the company knew from the outset that the devices were faulty, as they falsified documents to obtain FDA approval for their IVC filters. As a result, more than 9,000 persons seriously injured by defective IVC filters have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers. The injuries suffered include vein punctures, damage to organs, and wrongful death.
Thousands of individuals have come forward to file IVC filter lawsuits, standing up to the manufacturers who caused them to suffer injury. Our experienced IVC filter lawyers will pursue justice for individuals who have been harmed by these dangerous products. If you or a loved one has suffered injury or complications after the implantation of an IVC filter, the attorneys at the Yost Legal Group will investigate your potential claim and lawsuit. For a free consultation, please call us at 1-800-YOSTLAW.