If you are suffering from a blood clot(s) in your lungs (known as a pulmonary embolism) and cannot take medication to help regulate your condition, then your doctor may surgically implant a retrievable inferior vena cava filter (IVC filter). An IVC filter is a cage-like device inserted into the vein carrying blood from your body to your heart which is designed to trap blood clots and prevent them from entering your lungs. The use of IVC filters is meant to be short term, such as times when you are recovering from surgery or taking medications that have the potential to increase blood clotting. Once your doctor decides that you are no longer prone to suffering from a pulmonary embolism, the IVC filter should be surgically removed.
Though IVC filters have been in use for at least 30 years and are generally considered safe, new research shows that the opposite may be true. In 2010, the national Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a medical advisory warning that some IVC filters can cause serious injury because they remain in patients for an extended period of time. Some of the most common injuries sustained include: embedding of the filter in internal organs, movement of the filter to unintended parts of the body, detachment of filter components, breaking of the filter itself, and complete fracturing or breakdown of the filter in its entirety. If pieces of an IVC filter break-off and travel to other parts of the body, they can cause major damage by rupturing blood vessels and perforating organs which leads to internal bleeding and even death. Movement of these filters can also cause a lot of pain and may even fail to prevent blood clots.
Based on the FDA's report, doctors have begun monitoring their use of IVC filters more closely, and manufacturers of the filters are revisiting their designs to improve filter models and prevent a breakdown of these devices. Unfortunately, IVC filter manufacturers may have not done enough – specifically the C.R. Bard (Bard) medical technology company.
Recently, doctors and personal injury attorneys have seen thousands of situations where patients have been seriously and even fatally injured by the use of IVC filters manufactured by Bard, specifically the Bard Recovery Filter (which was approved for use in 2002) and the Bard G2 Filter (approved for use in 2005). These filter models have a high propensity to fracture or breakdown, causing pain, internal damage and death. To make matters worse, Bard may have known (or should have known) of its filters' defects, but did little to fix them or warn the medical community of the problem.
As a result, a number of both individual and class action lawsuits have been filed across the country, including Colorado, against the Bard company on behalf of those who have suffered complications and even death as a result of having an IVC filter implanted.
However, taking legal action is your second step. If you or a loved one has had an IVC filter inserted, you should first seek immediate medical attention to ascertain the type of filter used, whether you are at risk of suffering from complications or already are. Your doctor can make sure that your filter is functioning properly and should remain in place. Or, your physician can remove the filter and replace it, if need be.
If you discover that your filter was flawed and caused you damages (whether it be surgery to replace the filter or something more serious), then you should speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney—like those at the Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal—who will fight for your rights.
At the Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal, our qualified personal injury attorneys have experience representing IVC filter victims as well as all other personal injury victims, and we will fight for the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one has suffered from any IVC filter complications or side effects, we believe you should be able to recover compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, time off from work and other damages related to use of this dangerous medical device. We are here to help you!
Call us today for a free consultation at at (303) 825 – 2223, or visit us online.