The lawsuit was filed by Raymond W., a man who was implanted with the Option™ Retrievable Inferior Vena Cava Filter (“IVC Filter”) on October 12, 2011 at Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama.
The purpose of the filter was to prevent pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs) before he underwent bariatric surgery for weight-loss. The filter was a prophylactic measure against blood clots.
On May 11, 2015, the plaintiff underwent a CT scan. That was when he was diagnosed with IVC thrombosis, a condition in which blood clots develop below the filter. Doctors told the plaintiff that retrieval was not feasible at the time. The filter remains inside his body.
He will be at risk of sudden death and life-threatening blood clot complications so long as the filter remains in his body. Lawyers say the Option IVC filter was not adequately tested for effectiveness to prevent pulmonary embolisms. According to the complaint:
The remaining implanted filter continues to pose an increased and continued risk of perforation, including perforation of Plaintiff’s lung, and perforation of surrounding vital organs, all of which can result in severe pain and life-threatening complications.”
Obese people have a higher risk of developing blood clots after surgery than non-obese people. Because these patients typically can’t take blood-thinning medications immediately after surgery, many hospitals routinely implant IVC filters to catch blood clots in the body.
The problem is that very few hospitals routinely remove IVC filters when the patient’s risk of blood clots subsides, or the patient can take a blood-thinning drug instead. As a result, many “short-term” filters remain implanted for years. By the time a patient decides to have the filter removed, complications often make the procedure impossible.
Lawyers accuse Rex Medical and Argon Medical Devices of downplaying side effects and failing to test Option IVC filters for safety.
The lawsuit was filed on March 27, 2017 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas — Case ID: 170302891.
There are now 3,000 other IVC filter lawsuits pending against Rex Medical L.P., Argon Medical Devices Inc., Cook Medical, C.R. Bard, B. Braun, Aesculap Implant Systems, and other medical device makers.
The plaintiff is represented by attorney Ben C. Martin of The Law Offices of Ben C. Martin in Dallas, Texas; and attorney Stephen A. Sheller of Sheller, P.C., in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.