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IVC filter lawyers in Alabama and across the nation help people who have been injured by a defective medical device. An IVC filter is a medical device made to help those who have or are at great risk of developing a condition called deep vein thrombosis, also known as DVT. DVT can cause an embolism, or blood clot, to travel from the lower body extremities, up through the inferior vena cava, to the heart, lungs, and brain, and cause serious injuries. Sometimes, the embolism results in death. DVT is sometimes treated with medication, such as a blood thinner. At other times, the condition is treated with a surgical implant called an IVC filter.
IVC filters have, in recent years, caused injuries to many patients, including some in Alabama. There have been thousands of reports of the devices breaking and lodging in parts of the body such as the lungs and heart. There have also been reports of the devices perforating the inferior vena cava – the largest blood vessel in the body, causing DVT, and even obstructions. These IVC filter injuries have caused patients to undergo complicated and risky surgeries and experience serious pain and emotional distress. Sadly, the IVC filter has caused fatalities as well.
IVC Filter Litigation Nationwide
IVC filter lawsuits have already been filed against the manufacturers of IVC filters, and hundreds more are pending in various jurisdictions across the country, including Alabama. There are so many lawsuits that they have been consolidated into MDLs (multi-district litigation). MDLs are formed when there are multiple lawsuits against one party that contain similar issues and injuries.
Most of the lawsuits allege that the manufacturers of the IVC filters were negligent and did not adequately warn doctors or the public of the risks associated with the filters. The lawsuits also allege that the filters were defectively designed.
How Does an IVC Filter Work?
An IVC filter is designed to catch or trap a blood clot that starts in the lower part of the body and prevent it from moving up into the heart, brain or lungs. The filter is spider-like in that it looks like a cage with several legs. The cage is supposed to trap the clot so it does not move to a part of the body where it can cause serious damage or death.
Cook IVC Filters and Bard IVC Filters Cause Serious Injuries
The IVC filters that have recently come under fire are, unlike their predecessors, designed to be temporary. In other words, they are designed to be retrievable. After the threat of a blood clot or embolism has passed, the retrievable filter is supposed to be removed from the patient. Unfortunately, this protocol is not always followed, and the IVC filter remains in the body longer than necessary.
Most of the IVC filters used today are manufactured by one of two companies – C.R. Bard and Cook, and it is these companies that are the defendants in many of the recently filed lawsuits. The use of IVC filters is widespread. In fact, since the creation of IVC filters, over 65,000 produced by Bard alone have been implanted in patients. If you are one of them, you may want to speak with your health care provider.
What Injuries are Caused by IVC Filters?
Like any medical device or drug, the IVC filter comes with a wide array of complications and risks. Some of the risks are the same ones that come with any other surgical procedure such as bruising, bleeding, and infection.
The more serious and unique complications are caused when the IVC filter travels through the body or breaks apart. The entire device can migrate and lodge in or pierce a vital organ. The IVC filter is known to splinter and a “leg” can travel to the heart, lungs or brain. This can cause serious pain, the need for surgery, and even death. The retrieval of the filter can also result in serious injury, especially if a piece has broken off and lodged in another location.
The Food and Drug Administration Recommends Removal of IVC Filters
In 2014, the FDA determined that many of the injuries caused by IVC filters occurred because the filter was left in the body long after the risk of embolism had passed. In their report, the FDA urged doctors to share all of the possible risks with their patients including the chance that the device might break and cause damage. The FDA also strongly encouraged doctors to discuss specific retrieval protocols with their patients so that their IVC filter could be removed once the risks of embolism has passed.
IVC Filter Lawsuits in Alabama and Nationwide
Hundreds of IVC filter lawsuits against the IVC filter manufacturers are pending in several jurisdictions across the country. The plaintiffs in these matters are seeking monetary damages to compensate them for the injuries caused by IVC filters. Some of the injuries reported in the cases include perforations of the heart, lungs and vena cava, embolisms, and abnormal heart rythyms.
IVC filter injuries have caused patients to experience pain, emotional trauma, risky surgeries and in some cases, death. The lawsuits allege that the devices were defectively designed and that the manufacturers didn’t adequately warn of the risks associated with them.
IVC Filters Have Not Been Recalled
IVC filters have not been taken off the market. Doctors continue to use them to prevent pulmonary embolisms in thousands of patients every day. The FDA has strongly recommended that all physicians discuss the IVC filter risks with their patients and specifically plan for the removal of the device. The FDA continues to review the risks and benefits of IVC filters.
Have you been Injured by an IVC Filter?
The IVC filter attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt have been protecting the rights of patients like you for decades. We will guide you through your defective medical device claim and work tirelessly to obtain compensation that may cover your medical bills, lost wages and other costs associated with your injuries.
Contact us immediately if you have been hurt by an IVC filter. Injuries include:
- Lower limb DVT
- Perforation of the lungs or heart
- Pericardial effusion (blood around the heart)
- Puncturing of the inferior vena cava
- Inferior vena cava occlusion
- Disruption of the heart caused by fluid
- Accelerated heart beat
The Alabama based law firm of Farris, Riley & Pitt has experience with IVC filter medical device cases and all forms of medical malpractice. We help clients nationwide determine if they have a claim against IVC filter manufacturers.
The time you have to protect your rights is limited. Please contact our office to speak with one of our Alabama IVC filter attorneys today at (888) 580-5176.