The lawsuit was filed by Yannis B., a man from Athens, Greece who was implanted with the Option™ ELITE Retrievable Inferior Vena Cava Filter (“IVC Filter”) on February 18, 2016 at Boston Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts.
The filter was surgically implanted in his body before he had a leg amputation as prophylaxis against blood clot complications.
About four months later, on June 22, 2016, he went back to the same doctor to have the filter removed. At that time, it was discovered that the filter was tilted and the retrieval hook was embedded in the wall of his inferior vena cava.
The vena cava is the largest vein in the body. It carries most of the body’s “used” blood to the heart and lungs to be re-oxygenated. Ripping out an IVC filter that is embedded in this vein can cause death.
Unfortunately, the doctor was unable to remove the filter. According to the lawsuit:
After a complex percutaneous procedure through the internal jugular and the common femoral vein, the doctor was unable to snare the hook of the filter. … The procedure was stopped.”
The man found another doctor to attempt a second retrieval procedure on January 5, 2017. After a lengthy procedure, the filter was finally removed.
Lawyers accuse Rex Medical of selling a defectively-designed medical device and failing to warn about side effects. Many doctors have also complained about the challenges of removing IVC filters after patients develop complications like tilting, embedment, and vein perforations.
Retrieval kits provided by manufacturers were designed to remove IVC filters that were only implanted for a couple weeks. These kits may be useless for removing IVC filters that are stuck in the vein.
When routine attempts at retrieval fail, doctors have four options: 1) curved catheter technique, 2) loop-and-snare technique, 3) balloon-assisted technique, and 4) forceps technique. All of these procedures have significant safety risks for the patient, such as massive internal bleeding, broken filters traveling to the heart, and sudden death.
The lawsuit was filed on March 27, 2017 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas — Case ID: 170302886.
There are around 3,000 other IVC filter lawsuits pending against Rex Medical L.P., Argon Medical Devices Inc., Cook Medical, and C.R. Bard in state and federal courts nationwide.
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.