The lawsuit was filed by Cindy H., a woman who was implanted with the Option™ ELITE Retrievable Inferior Vena Cava Filter (“IVC Filter”) on August 5, 2010 at Virtua Voorhees Hospital in New Jersey.
The filter was surgically implanted in her body to prevent life-threatening blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism). Unfortunately, the filter tilted and broke during retrieval, resulting in far more serious side effects.
On October 20, 2015, she underwent a procedure to remove the filter. That was when doctors discovered that the filter was severely tilted, with the apex of the filter along the side wall of the vena cava instead of the center.
When doctors tried to remove the filter, a needle-like wire leg broke off and traveled to her lungs. According to the lawsuit:
“During the removal surgery a leg of the filter near the apex broke off and has now become lodged in her left central lung field.”
When the wire legs of an IVC filter snap off, pieces can travel in the bloodstream like deadly missiles straight to the heart or lungs.
This complication is why fractures are an extremely serious risk of implanting metal filters in the inferior vena cava (IVC), which is the body’s largest vein. It carries “used” blood to heart and lungs to be re-oxygenated. Any broken pieces of an IVC filter will also travel in the bloodstream until they hit a vital organ.
In many cases, the wire legs get stuck in the heart valves or puncture the heart muscle, resulting in severe irregular heart rhythm or sudden death. Patients who survive may have to live the rest of their lives with broken pieces of the filter in their body.
Lawyers accuse Rex Medical of selling an unreasonably dangerous medical device. The company is also accused of failing to warn patients and doctors about life-threatening safety hazards.
The lawsuit was filed on March 14, 2017 in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas — Case ID: 170301261.
There are around 3,000 other IVC filter lawsuits currently pending against Argon Medical Devices Inc., Rex Medical L.P., Cook Medical, and C.R. Bard. Most lawsuits are centralized in Arizona and Illinois.
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.