The lawsuit was filed by Kimberly W., a woman from Ohio who was injured by the Günther Tulip® Inferior Vena Cava Filter (“IVC Filter”) manufactured by Cook Medical Inc.
The IVC filter was surgically implanted in her vein to prevent a life-threatening pulmonary embolism on August 5, 2005 by Dr. James Spain at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in Ohio.
Pulmonary embolisms occur when blood clots grow in veins deep inside the legs, break loose, travel in the bloodstream, get stuck in smaller veins in the lungs, and cut off circulation to lung tissue. IVC filters help prevent pulmonary embolisms by catching blood clots as they pass through the inferior vena cava, the largest vein in the body.
The problem is that IVC filters themselves can cause life-threatening complications — especially if parts of the filter break off, because broken parts can travel in the bloodstream until they hit the heart. Another serious complication occurs when the filter’s metal legs puncture the vein and damage nearby organs.
In recent years, thousands of lawsuits have been filed by people who were injured by IVC filters. The manufacturers are accused of downplaying safety risks while pushing wider use of IVC filters.
Their marketing campaigns were successful. The use of IVC filters skyrocketed in the mid-2000s, as the FDA approved “temporary” IVC filters for short-term protection against blood clots. Unfortunately, few were actually removed when the patient’s risk of blood clots subsided.
The result was a skyrocketing number of injuries. The FDA urged doctors to remove IVC filters as soon as possible in August 2010. In May 2014, the FDA advised retrieval within 29-54 days, ideally.
According to the FDA Safety Communication:
Known long term risks associated with IVC filters include but are not limited to lower limb deep vein thrombosis (DVT), filter fracture, filter migration, filter embolization and IVC perforation.”
The lawsuit was filed on June 13, 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana (Indianapolis Division) — Case No. 1:17-cv-01985-WTL-DML.
It will be centralized with approximately 2,000 other IVC filter lawsuits now pending 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.