In the first bellwether C.R. Bard IVC filter lawsuit to go to trial, an Arizona federal jury has ruled for the plaintiff Sherr-Una Booker and ordered Bard to pay her $3.6 million in damages. Booker claimed a clot-stopping vein filter manufactured by C.R. Bard Inc. broke apart in her body and awarded her $2 million in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages. Jurors ruled that another third party was responsible for 20 percent of the compensatory damages.
This was the first IVC bellwether trial, and one of thousands of IVC (inferior vena cava) filter lawsuits that have been filed against C.R. Bard, Inc. These lawsuits claim that Bard and other IVC Manufacturers concealed potentially dangerous side effects associated with their retrievable IVC filters – including filter migration, fracture, organ perforation, embolization, and inferior vena cava punctures – and failed to warn doctors and patients about these risks. C.R. Bard, along with Cook Medical are the two largest manufacturers of these dangerous devices. Smaller manufacturers such as Cordis Corporation Rex Medical, Argon Medical, and B. Braun are also facing IVC lawsuits in state and federal courts.
Booker was 37 when she received Bard’s G2 filter prior to surgery to remove a cancerous cervical mass. In 2009, a radiologist performed an X-ray and noted that the filter had fractured, migrated, tilted and one or more of its parts perforated her IVC, the blood vessel that carries blood from the lower body to the heart. Shortly after that discovery pieces of the Bard IVC filter lodged into her spine and heart and Booker was forced to undergo open-heart surgery. In 2014 she underwent another surgery to remove the remaining pieces of the fractured filter, but surgeons were unable to retrieve them all. Several still remain and still pose potential health risks.
Nationwide there are nearly 4000 IVC lawsuits pending. The suits allege that the devices are prone to fracture, migration and other problems that can result in life-threatening complications. They also claim that the makers of these devices failed to properly warn doctors about the importance of IVC filter retrieval. In 2013 a case study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that only 8.5% of retrievable IVC filters were removed successfully. This bellwether trial in Phoenix has amplified not only how dangerous these devices are, but also the importance of IVC filter retrieval. Many physicians I have consulted with believe IVC filters are implanted time bombs. Patients who currently have IVC filters implanted should consult with their doctor and evaluate their risks.
At Saunders & Walker we continue to represent victims harmed by drugs and medical devices. If you or someone you know have been injured after the having an IVC filter implanted please contact us for a free consultation and to discuss your legal options.