The lawsuit was filed by Heidi C., a woman who was living in Iowa when she was injured by the Günther Tulip® Inferior Vena Cava Filter (“IVC Filter”) manufactured by Cook Medical.
The IVC filter was surgically implanted in her body on December 4, 2013 at Immanuel Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska by Dr. Thomas H. Webb.
The Günther Tulip is approved in the United States for both permanent and short-term protection against blood clot complications. It is implanted in a major blood vessel known as the inferior vena cava, which carries used blood to the heart and lungs.
If an IVC filter fractures, broken pieces of the filter will travel in the bloodstream until they get stuck in the heart or lungs. This rare but potentially deadly complication is called “fracture and embolization.”
For example, in a case report from 2009, a 56 year-old woman suffered a fracture and embolization of a Günther Tulip that had been implanted 6 years earlier. The broken piece traveled in her bloodstream until it hit her heart and punctured through the heart muscle, resulting in a severe irregular heart rhythm disorder.
The woman developed cardiac tamponade, or pressure on the heart that occurs when blood or fluid accumulates in the space between the heart muscle and the outer membrane around the heart. The symptoms include low blood pressure, shortness of breath, and light-headedness.
Cardiac tamponade prevents the heart from filling up with the normal amount of blood. It also makes it harder for the heart to pump blood into the body. The result is a dramatic drop in blood pressure and sometimes death. Emergency treatment is necessary to drain excess fluid with a needle or a small tube.
Cook Medical is accused of negligence for selling defectively designed medical devices with unreasonably dangerous risks. Lawyers allege that Cook downplayed risks and failed to conduct adequate studies.
The lawsuit was filed on April 8, 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana (Indianapolis Division) — Case No. 1:17-cv-01122-RLY-TAB.
Around 1,750 IVC filter lawsuits have been filed against Cook Medical by people who were injured by the Günther Tulip or Celect IVC Filters. The cases are centralized in Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2570) — In Re: Cook Medical, Inc., IVC Filters Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation.
The plaintiff is represented by Ben C. Martin and Thomas Wm. Arbon of The Law Offices of Ben C. Martin.
Ben C. Martin is a trial attorney based in Dallas, Texas who serves as the plaintiffs’ co-lead counsel in the Cook IVC Filter MDL.