Temporary inferior vena cava filters (IVC filters) have been the subjects of thousands of lawsuits for several years now, after studies indicated the devices have a high risk of failure. Some patients might have thought that permanent IVC filters could resist failure, but a recent lawsuit says differently.
Mississippi resident Vickie L. Jeans had a Vena Tech IVC filter, manufactured by B. Braun Medical Inc., implanted in 2009 to help reduce her risk of pulmonary embolism (PE). PE occurs when blood clots from the lower extremities travel into the heart or lungs and cause life-threatening injuries. The cone shaped Vena Tech filter is designed to catch blood clots before they migrate into the heart and lungs.
After undergoing a venogram in September 2015, doctors discovered that Ms. Jeans’ Vena Tech filter had been crushed. The failure of the device not only put Ms. Jeans at risk for suffering a pulmonary embolism, it also put her at risk for suffering migrations or perforations caused by the IVC filter. Ms. Jeans is unable to have the device removed.
Ms. Jeans filed a lawsuit against B. Braun Medical alleging the device is defective because it is “unable to withstand the normal anatomical and physiological loading cycles exerted in vivo.”
The lawsuit also alleges the company knew about the risks, but failed to adequately warn patients and doctors. The lawsuit echoes many of the claims made by plaintiffs in temporary IVC filter litigations.
One of the first IVC filter cases to go to trial will begin early 2017 against Cook Medical. Cook currently faces more than 800 lawsuits alleging the company failed to warn of the dangers associated with its IVC filters.
C.R. Bard also faces a number of lawsuits over its devices. Unlike Cook, Bard voluntarily recalled an early IVC filter model in 2005 over fracture risks. This rocky start for Bard didn’t seem to slow the company down, and over the next decade Bard continued to manufacture new models of IVC filters, which are now the subject of product liability lawsuits.