A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently ordered pharmaceutical giant Bard to pay $3.6 million to a victim of a defective IVC filter.
Earlier, a Phoenix jury ordered Bard to pay this amount, which included $2 million in punitive damages, after tiny bits of a fractured Inferior Vena Cava filter lodged near the patient’s heart. Jurors determined that Bard knew about the “significantly higher” rate of perforations and other failures, yet Bard failed to warn doctors or patients about the elevated risk.
The company said it is mulling further appeal options.
IVC Filter Serious Side Effects
Doctors usually implant these tiny filters into patients who are recovering from major surgery. The IVC filter’s tiny, spider-like legs prevent blood clots from forming. If these clots migrate to vital organs, they could be life-threatening.
Unfortunately, although the IVC filter is a well-intentioned medical device, it is dangerously defective. Some of these serious defects include:
- Fracture: The longer these devices remain in the body, the more the blood erodes these devices. These tiny metal parts often break off.
- Perforation: Sometimes, the IVC filter works too well. The spider legs dig into the artery walls, causing internal bleeding. This bleeding is hard to diagnose and hard to treat.
- Migration: This side effect might be the most serious one. It is also unique to the latest IVC filters. Previously, these devices had solid titanium or stainless steel bases. Today’s filters have flexible bases, allowing the filters to detach and migrate toward internal organs.
Physical symptoms of embedding and migration include heart palpitations, chest pain, fainting episodes, and irregular heartbeat.
Your Claim for Damages
Most IVC filter claims involve design defects. These kinds of medical devices must be durable enough to stay in place yet also small enough to be attached to a catheter and inserted into the body. That’s a very delicate balance which many of these devices do not have.
Other IVC filters have manufacturing defect issues. Frequently, to save money, companies replace reliable components with cheap parts which are not very durable. As a result, the risk of device failure increases. Generally, manufacturers are responsible for any defects which occur before their products reach store shelves.
Both these kinds of defects clearly violate the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. As a result, companies are strictly liable for the injuries these dangerous products cause.
Most of these claims settle out of court. A favorable verdict often creates momentum for future favorable settlements. At this point, many manufacturers do not want to risk a trial.
Defective IVC filters often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Kansas City, contact the Krause and Kinsman Law Firm. Virtual, after-hours, and home visits are available.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.