IVC filters, or Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) filters, were made to prevent blood clots from releasing into the veins and entering the lungs. Since 2005, however, the United States Food & Drug Administration has been receiving complaints that the devices had been designed ineffectively and caused injury or worsened medical conditions. Injured individuals from across the entire nation have come forth with lawsuits against companies such as Cook Medical and Bard.
Plaintiffs Bring Forth Their Allegations
IVC filters were created to save people from deadly effects of a pulmonary embolism—blood clots—from entering the lungs. Yet, there are over 900 and counting reported reactions and ill effects from using the device. On top of that, there are reportedly a number of patients who could not have the device removed because it had been embedded into their bodies.
Some of the complaints the plaintiffs have alleged include:
- Filter failure
- Inability to remove filter after discovering complications
- Components of the device had become detached, causing injury
- The filter had entered into or traveled to other parts of the body
- The filter had shifted to an unusual position
Here are some interesting statistics to think about. One study presented in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2013 found that only less than 10% of the IVC filters were able to be removed. Also, the study found that only 8% of the patients who had the IVC filters still had a pulmonary embolism.
Complaints had been stemming as far back as 2005, yet it was only until 2010 that the FDA had officially recognized and issued a warning about the potential risks of the IVC filters. In the recent litigation, plaintiffs have brought forth this issue specifically in their allegations, stating that Bard and many other companies were well aware of the potential risks for several years, but did nothing to precaution medical practitioners and patients.
Multidistrict Litigation Ensues
Currently, the U.S. Judicial Panel is looking over the lawsuits that have been filed and determining whether or not the cases can be integrated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL). Schneider Hammers has taken on legal representation for several of the plaintiffs who are taking action against Cook and Bard.
Multidistrict litigation is highly beneficial to a case of this magnitude, as it can lessen the amount of time it takes to litigate the cases individually. Cases will not be heard before different judges but will be united and heard as one. This is highly convenient for all involved in the litigation process, especially for plaintiffs and their witnesses, not to mention the court system.