A North Carolina man suffered fatal injuries when an IVC filter (inferior vena cava) filter failed and allegedly caused the catastrophic malfunction that it was meant to prevent.
The IVC filter is a small, cage-like device intended to trap blood clots before they reach the heart and lungs. However, reports continue to emerge of devices breaking or fracturing within the blood vessel, leading to serious injury when fragments of the filter perforate the heart or other critical organs.
IVC Failure and Lawsuit
B. Braun Medical Inc. (Braun), a German manufacturer of medical devices is the manufacturer of the IVC filter in question. A subsidiary, Aesculan Implant Systems was named along with Braun in the IVC filter lawsuit filed in federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 31, 2017.
The deceased was implanted with a Braun filter to his inferior vena cava in 2015. The vena cava is the main artery that returns deoxygenated blood from the lower half of the body up to the heart and lungs. The lawsuit claims the device broke apart at some point, and pieces of the fragmented IVC filter travelled along the bloodstream to the victim’s heart and lungs. The blood clots that were formed are alleged to have hastened the victim’s death.
The IVC filter lawsuit alleges that Braun knew their IVC filter was defective at the time the filter was sold, and subsequently implanted in the victim. The lawsuit claims the manufacturers were negligent in producing and selling the filter and are liable for the defective design of the device, manufacturing defects, failing to warn of risks, breach of warranty, and fraud. Unspecified damages for personal injury, medical expenses, and lost earnings are sought in the lawsuit.
In 2016, Braun faced a similar lawsuit filed in Philadelphia County Court by a New Jersey man. The plaintiff claims the Braun-made IVC filter broke apart in his IVC vein, causing fragments to migrate to vital organs. The lawsuit alleges that fragments became lodged in the plaintiff’s liver, heart, and aorta.
National law firm Parker Waichman LLP has extensive experience and success in medical device litigation. The firm’s attorneys are available to answer legal questions from individuals seeking information for a potential lawsuit.
Other IVC Manufacturers and Lawsuits
C.R. Bard and Cook Medical are manufacturers of IVC filters and are famously plagued with litigation due to IVC filter failure. The Bard G2 IVC filter is frequently referenced, lawsuits over which are processed in multidistrict litigation (MDL).
A multidistrict litigation is often used where complex cases with similar complaints are consolidated. This involves the trial taking place in one court under one judge. An MDL lowers court costs, eliminates duplicate discovery, resulting in a faster outcome and a generally more efficient procedure.
Although Braun has two lawsuits currently pending, it is relatively unscathed in comparison with the thousands of lawsuits against C.R. Bard and Cook Medical.
One IVC filter lawsuit was filed on behalf of a nurse from Atlanta. She had the C.R. Bard G2 IVC filter implanted. The complaint states, according to court records, that in 2012, she felt sudden and excruciating pain in her chest. The nurse immediately went to the hospital, where an x-ray showed that two small metal tines on the IVC filter had broken off. One of them had perforated her pericardium, the fibrous sac surrounding her heart.
One of the tines had pierced the plaintiff’s heart muscle when it perforated the pericardium, causing excessive bleeding in the chest. The IVC filter injury could have been fatal without immediate surgery, according to the lawsuit. Doctors were never able to locate the other broken tine, the plaintiff said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has gone on record as recommending in no uncertain terms that retrievable IVC filter, the most commonly used at this time, should be retrieved as soon as the blood clot threat has passed. It is advised the filter should be removed at the very outside, within a couple of months following implantation. Many patients, however, have allowed the IVC filters to remain in place, far longer than the FDA recommends. Often attempts of retrieval have ended in failure and the device remains in the patient with little hope of removal.
Advice and Information for Medical Device Injuries
If you or someone you know suffered injuries regarding the use of a medical device, including an IVC filter, you may have valuable legal rights. The personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).