The first few cases alleging injuries related to Cook Medical’s inferior vena cava (IVC) filters have now received trial dates. The patients who claim they have suffered injuries from the filters will get their day in court, reports the Indianapolis Business Journal.
The first case is scheduled for Oct. 2 of this year for a Florida woman who had a Celect retrievable filter surgically implanted seven years ago. The Celect filter is comprised of four anchoring legs to keep the device in place, and eight caging legs to catch blood clots before they reach her heart or lungs.
The woman returned to her doctor four months later to have the IVC filter removed, but doctors were unable to retrieve it. As a result, she says she now suffers severe gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. An endoscopy revealed that the filter had perforated the vein and impaled a large blood vessel as well as small intestine. After being transferred to another hospital for additional retrieval attempts, the filter was finally removed.
According to the lawsuit, the flimsy filter couldn’t handle the anatomical and physiological demands placed upon it, which resulted in the filter failing by tilting, migrating, perforating, as well as fracturing.
The second case scheduled for April 2, 2018, is with a patient from the Chicago area. His injury claim involves Cook’s Gunther Tulip retrievable filter. The man has a medical history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms, a condition that landed him in the hospital in 2011. During that hospital stay, he was implanted with the IVC filter.
After the filter was placed, the Chicago man “began experiencing extreme chest pain and shortness of breath.” Further testing revealed that his filter had pierced through the vena cava, the blood vessel in which the filter was located. His doctors advised that the filter “could not be removed due to such a high risk of death during the procedure.”
In the third case, with a trial date of August 2018, a Georgia woman had a Celect IVC filter implanted in 2011 just before undergoing spinal-fusion surgery. A few months later, the woman noticed a 5-inch “painful region” on her right inner thigh. As the area produced a protrusion and grew in size, she pressed on it. A metal wire about 1-1/2 inches long pierced through her skin. It was a metal leg that had fractured away from the IVC filter.
Doctors used x-rays to determine that a second wire leg had fractured away and was migrating dangerously close to her spine. The Georgia woman underwent surgery to have the filter leg removed, “but after several unsuccessful attempts to remove the filter during this surgery, the procedure was halted,” the lawsuit states, due to the dangerous nature of the surgery.