Early Trial Leads to $3.6 Million Award to Woman Injured by a Bard IVC Filter
IVC filters are meant to prevent blood clots. In the case of Sherr-Una Booker, the medical device fragmented causing her serious complications. An Arizona jury awarded her $3.6 million after she was injured by a Bard IVC filter.
The federal jury in Phoenix ordered C.R. Bard, the manufacturer of the device, to pay Booker $1.6 million for its failure to warn of the dangers of the device and $2 million in punitive damages to punish the company.
Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against the makers of IVC filters.
IVC filters are inferior vena cava filters. They are implanted in the largest vein in the body, the vena cava. This vein carries de-oxygenated blood to the right atrium of the heart and the lungs. IVC filters are implanted in patients who suffer conditions such as deep vein thrombosis in their legs. These small, spider-like devices are intended to prevent blood clots from breaking off and migrating to the vital organs like the heart, the brain and the lungs where blood clots may be deadly.
Court papers revealed Booker’s IVC filter broke, migrated in her body. It tilted and parts of the device perforated her vena cava.
She was given an IVC filter in 2007 before she had surgery to remove a cancerous cervical mass.
Booker had the initial surgery in New York and moved to Georgia. She was hospitalized in Georgia after suffering complications related to the IVC filter in 2014. Even after the surgery, a fragment of the filter remains in her IVC.
Booker is just one of thousands of people who say they were injured by a Bard IVC filter.
Hers was the first so-called bellwether trial conducted in federal court in Phoenix. As of March 2018, more than 3,600 lawsuits were pending in Arizona over no fewer than seven types of Bard IVC filter.
When high numbers of lawsuits are filed over a similar issue, federal courts will often organize them into multi-district litigation (MDL). This arrangement allows a judge to rule on all pretrial matters and preside over the first trials, known as bellwethers. The outcomes of these early trials often provide a guide to potential settlement negotiations in the future.
Booker’s lawyer, Robin Lourie from Atlanta told Drugwatch after the verdict her client was happy with the result. Booker called for Bard to accept responsibility for its dangerous and defective filters and its failure to warn doctors about the high risks associated with IVC filters.
The verdict for a plaintiff injured by a Bard IVC filter comes just months after another bellwether trial ended up in a verdict for a manufacturer.
Cook Medical won a unanimous jury verdict on November 9, following a three-week trial. A lawsuit blamed the company’s Celect IVC filter for the injuries suffered by a woman in Florida.
Over 3,000 lawsuits are still pending against Cook over its IVC filters. Those injured claim similar symptoms to the plaintiffs in the lawsuits against Bard, namely that the devices broke apart or became detached and caused blood vessel or organ damage. Some of the lawsuits blame the devices for the deaths of patients.
A host of potentially life-threatening conditions are associated with IVC filters.
Injured by a Bard IVC Filter – What To Look For
- Filter fracture, migration and break up. Parts including legs and struts on the filters may break loose and travel to other parts of patients’ bodies, potentially causing serious complications to important organs. A 2012 of filters manufactured by Cook found filters fragmented in the study participants’ venal wall within 71 days of patients receiving them.
- Embolization –I VC filters may break up and block blood vessels or vascular channels in recipients.
- Infection of IVC filters.
- Blockages that are linked to a painful swelling in a patient’s legs.
- Blood clots in the legs.
- Abnormal back pain. A pain in the back can result from an IVC filter traveling throughout your blood vessels and lodging itself in one of your organs or another vein.
If a filter embedded in the heart, the patient may be in grave danger. Look out for the following symptoms:
- Acute chest pain
- Neck pains
- Shortness of breath
- Unnaturally rapid heart rate,
Always consult a doctor if you experience symptoms after an IVC filter is implanted.
Drug and medical device manufacturers have a long record of failing to adequately warn patients about the dangers of their products. It often takes lawsuits or actions by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for them to admit the potentially-harmful side effects of their products. If you or a loved one has been injured by an IVC filter, please contact our Virginia dangerous drugs and medical devices team at (757) 455-0077.