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Recently, a federal jury in Indianapolis awarded $3 million to a woman who had serious medical complications caused by a defective inferior vena cava (IVC) filter. This verdict is noteworthy because it is the first bellwether trial to result in a win for the injured plaintiff instead of Cook.

IVC filters, which are implanted in patients who are at high risk of developing blood clots, are used to prevent clots from entering the heart or lungs (also known as pulmonary embolism). They should be taken out once the risk of pulmonary embolism decreases, according to the FDA, because of the complications that they can cause. These complications include:

  • Detachment or fracturing inside of a patient’s body
  • Puncturing or perforation of internal organs
  • Failure to obstruct blood clots
  • Detached particles restricting blood flow or traveling to the heart or brain

Older adults are at an even higher risk than most, with one study indicating that using inferior vena cava (IVC) filters in patients over 65 may actually increase their 30-day and 1-year mortality rate.

The plaintiff in this case, Tonya Brand, alleged that she had to pull a piece of her Cook IVC filter out of her thigh after it broke up and disintegrated in her body. Other pieces of the filter became lodged in her body and can’t be removed. This contradicts Cook’s claim that the filter is retrievable when in fact, broken metal shards that become impacted in vital organs are often impossible to remove with major surgical intervention. In Brand’s case, the jury determined that the IVC filter’s defective design was the cause of the complications she experienced.

Brand’s lawsuit is just one of thousands that have been filed against Cook Medical and other IVC filter manufacturers. The implications of this particular verdict are monumental: it shows that there is still hope that big pharma manufacturing companies will be held accountable for the damage they have caused.

Our law firm of Childers, Schlueter & Smith is well-versed in drug and medical device litigation and might be able to help you or a family member who is suffering due to complications caused by an IVC filter. If you have questions, please give us a call at 800-641-0098. All initial inquiries are free of charge and without obligation

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