The first IVC filter multidistrict litigation (MDL) bellwether trial is slated to begin Oct. 2 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District for Indiana. Judge Richard L. Young is presiding over the nearly 2,000 combined claims against IVC filter maker Cook Medical, according to the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.
The blood-clot filter is implanted in the inferior vena cava – the body’s largest vein. The filter is intended to catch blood clots that form in the legs before they reach vital organs such as the heart and lungs. It is used as an alternative to the anticoagulant Heparin in trauma patients to prevent venous thromboembolism prophylaxis. Unlike permanent IVC filters, those of the retrievable variety have a high rate of failure. They are more fragile in design, often leading them to fracture, migrate or tilt within the body and potentially cause life-threatening injuries.
The first case, involving a Florida woman, demonstrates the device’s potential danger. She was implanted with a Cook Medical Celect Cava in 2010 and returned to her doctor to have it removed four months later. When the doctor’s attempts to remove the filter failed, an endoscopy procedure revealed that it had pierced a large blood vessel and the woman’s small intestine. She was transferred to another hospital where it was finally removed.
There are 10 other IVC filter manufacturers including C.R. Bard, Inc. and Cordis – both are also facing mounting lawsuits in their own MDLs. The Bard MDL is pending in U.S. District Court in Arizona, and cases involving Cordis IVC filters are consolidated in California state court.
Recent scientific research also challenges the necessity and reliability of the filters. A study published in May by the scientific journal JAMA Surgery reveals that using fewer vena cava filters did not result in an increase of pulmonary embolism among trauma patients. As we have previously reported, a 2016 study revealed IVC filter use did not indicate any significant difference in the patient’s survival, but low removal rates could be even riskier to the patient’s health.
If you would like more information about the IVC filters litigation, contact Melissa Prickett, a lawyer in our Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Melissa.Prickett@beasleyallen.com.
Sources: Indianapolis Business Journal, U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, Righting Injustice and The JAMA Network Surgery
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