The lawsuit was filed by Carly C., a woman from New York who was surgically implanted with the Option™ Retrievable Inferior Vena Cava Filter (“IVC Filter”) on June 24, 2013 at Rochester General Hospital.
The Option IVC filter was implanted in her body for prophylactic purposes before she underwent bariatric surgery for weight-loss. She did not have any blood clots at the time.
On March 16, 2016, she underwent an attempted IVC filter removal procedure. That was when doctors discovered that the filter legs had punctured through the vena cava and perforated her left kidney vein.
The filter was also found to be significantly tilted, and part of the filter was embedded in the wall of her vena cava. Things only got worse when doctors tried to remove the Option IVC filter:
During the removal surgery, part of the filter broke off and the hook portion still remain implanted within the Plaintiff.”
She now faces a lifetime risk of complications. The fractured hook is embedded for now, but someday it could break loose, travel to her heart, and cause sudden death.
Lawyers say Rex Medical failed to warn that morbid obesity and open abdominal surgery could affect the safety and integrity of the Option IVC filter.
Surgery patients have a high risk of developing blood clots during the healing process. Obese people have an even higher risk of blood clots. These patients can’t take blood-thinning drugs in the first few weeks of recovery because they would bleed.
Some hospitals try to protect patients from blood clots by routinely implanting a “temporary” IVC filter. The filter is supposed to catch blood clots floating in the bloodstream before they hit the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism.
The problem is that hospitals do not usually follow up to remove an IVC filter. It is not unusual for “temporary” IVC filters to remain implanted for years, or until the patient develops complications.
Many patients falsely believe their IVC filter gives them lifelong protection from blood clots. In reality, blood clots are actually the main long-term complication of IVC filters.
Blood clots sometimes grow on the exposed metal legs of the filter itself. This may not cause any symptoms until the patient suddenly dies of a pulmonary embolism. This is the exact same injury the filter was originally supposed to prevent before the patient had surgery.
Another problem is that IVC filters frequently become clogged (occluded) with blood clots. Inferior Vena Cava Syndrome occurs when a clogged filter slows down circulation and causes blood clots to grow in the patient’s legs. It becomes more likely the longer an IVC filter is in the body.
The lawsuit was filed on March 27, 2017 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas — Case ID. 170302882.
There are now approximately 3,000 other IVC filter lawsuits pending against Rex Medical L.P., Argon Medical Devices, Cook Medical, and C.R. Bard.
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.