Typically, medical devices undergo extensive safety testing before manufacturers release them into the market. This process weeds out harmful devices and saves the lives of many. Unfortunately, from time to time, the Food and Drug Administration approves a device that can cause harm.
Once reports of a faulty medical device begin to appear, the manufacturer has a duty to warn the public of the dangers, and in many cases, patients and doctors must cease the use of the item because of the risk. If injured people suffer damages because of the known dangers of a faulty medical device, the manufacturer may be held accountable for those losses. One such problematic device is the IVC blood clot filter.
What is an IVC filter?
If you suffer from a blood clotting disorder and cannot take blood thinners to prevent blood clots, your doctor may have implanted an IVC filter instead. This device is designed to catch any blood clots that move through the vein and prevents them from causing a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lungs) or deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the leg veins). IVC stands for inferior vena cava, which is the main blood vessel from which your heart receives blood from the lower portion of your body.
What complications can arise with this device?
Unfortunately, the use of the device has resulted in many injuries and deaths. In some patients, pieces of the device have broken off and caused extensive damage to body tissues and organs. In other cases, the device dislodged from its original position and traveled to other parts of patients’ bodies causing damage as well. The device, originally designed for short-term usage in the body, can also be difficult to remove once implanted.
What is the legal impact?
Within this category of medical devices, there are at least two manufacturers of these faulty filters. Both companies have had lawsuits brought against them for manufacturing defects, failure to warn, design defects, breach of implied warranty and negligence. One manufacturer even faced a class action lawsuit due to the sheer number of injuries reported from use of the device.
What should I do if I have one?
If you have an IVC filter, you should talk to your physician about the possibility of removing it. Some symptoms like shortness of breath and chest pain may require immediate emergency medical attention. In the event that you experience damages from injuries sustained from the use of this or another defective medical device, an experienced lawyer can be an invaluable resource to help you recover your losses.