An IVC filter is a medical device that doctors surgically implant into the inferior vena cava (IVC), which is a large blood vessel that runs from the abdomen into the heart and returns blood from the lower half of the body. The device works like a cage or net and prevents blood clots from traveling to the heart and lungs. Interventional radiologists or vascular surgeons implant the filters in patients when anti-coagulant and blood-thinning drugs do not effectively reduce a patient’s risk of developing blood clots in the lower body.
However, these devices have been found to contain certain types of product defects that render them extremely dangerous for many patients. As a result, C.R. Bard faces approximately 4,000 lawsuits, though the company issued no product recalls.
Over the past several years, many people from across the country have filed product liability cases against Bard. Plaintiffs allege that the Bard filters contain various types of product defects because they can fracture, migrate, tilt or even perforate the inferior vena cava. These failures may seriously or even fatally injure patients. Recent medical studies have concluded that these devices are neither safe nor effective. According to these studies, “the filters have been shown to double the risk of pulmonary embolism, the very condition which they are intended to prevent.”
When a Bard IVC filter malfunctions it can result in serious health problems:
In the first bellwether case to go to trial, a federal jury in Phoenix awarded $3.6 million to the plaintiff in April 2018. On February 9, 2015, Bard settled an IVC filter case brought by Plaintiff Kevin Phillips after six days of trial. Phillips contended that the Bard IVC filter implanted in him in August 2005 failed, migrating to his heart and forcing him to undergo open heart surgery. The settlement terms remain confidential.
In August of 2015, all Bard IVC filter lawsuits were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Arizona. This MDL covers dozens of defective product claims, and more victims file every day. These cases will continue to be heard and settled in the coming months and years.
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Medical Device Watch is sponsored by Keefe Law Firm. The medical device approval process in the U.S. allows for the sale of some devices that have not been tested in clinical trials on humans. Our goal is to help people protect themselves from the physical, emotional and financial harm that can be caused by medical devices that are defective.LEARN MORE