The first Cook Medical inferior vena cava (IVC) filter bellwether trial just concluded — and the jury made a difficult ruling. The case involved plaintiff Elizabeth Jane Hill, a Florida woman who received a Cook Celect vena cava filter in 2010. A surgeon implanted the Celect vena cava filter right before Hill’s scheduled back surgery. However, the device eventually migrated, perforating Hill’s vena cava and her small intestine. After one failed retrieval attempt, a surgeon finally successfully removed all vena cava filter fragments. But the removal occurred two years after device implantation — after Hill’s body suffered extensive damage. Hill’s only allegation against Cook Medical? That the Celect filter’s design was defective. Had she filed failure to warn or negligence claims, the jury might have ruled differently. However, in this one case, Cook Medical prevailed — and Hill lost her shot at winning a settlement.
About 3,000 Injury Claims Still Pending for Cook Vena Cava Filter Victims
IVC filters are small devices implanted into a patient’s inferior vena cava. They act like nets, capturing and filtering blood clots which could otherwise result in pulmonary embolism. But retrievable IVC filters can cause extreme injuries when left in longer than recommended, including the following complications:
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Device migration
- Access site thrombosis
- Caval penetration
- IVC filter fracture
Studies also show that the IVC filter’s “legs” – metal struts that form a cage-like shape – can break off and migrate. These metal shards can then move into the patient’s heart and lungs or puncture major veins and organs. Ms. Hill suffered from filter migration and internal organ as well as vena cava vein perforation injuries. Often, these can cause lasting pain and irreversible damage.
More Cook Vena Cava Bellwether Trials Still Ahead
Due to thousands of plaintiffs filing IVC filter lawsuits, a judicial panel approved the vena cava filter Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). In October 2014, the Cook Medical IVC Filter MDL consolidated all pending claims within the Southern District of Indiana. When most complaints against a medical device appear strikingly similar, it opens the door to centralization under a mass tort. The most common allegations against Cook Medical say that the manufacturer failed to disclose all IVC filter risks to consumers.
A judge often selects MDL cases for bellwether trials to set the tone for future discovery procedures and rulings. They provide a benchmark for both plaintiffs and defendants, testing the grounds for future trials. Ms. Hill’s trial is the first bellwether — but two others already have 2018 court dates set.
The second is scheduled for April 30, 2018. Plaintiff Arthur Gage alleges that a Cook IVC filter perforated his vena cava, and that surgeons cannot effectively remove it. The third trial is scheduled for September 10, 2018. Surgeons managed to remove plaintiff Tonya Brand’s filter, but the device fractured internally, leaving several metal shards still inside and moving throughout her body.
After the initial bellwether trials conclude, hundreds more additional cases are sure to follow.
How to Check Your Eligibility for a Cash Settlement
If you or a loved one experienced serious vena cava filter injuries or complications, you may be eligible for compensation. Since Cook Medical and other IVC filter manufacturers failed to disclose all possible complications, injured patients seek justice in court. To see if you may qualify for a cash settlement, get your free IVC filter claim evaluation online now. Once you’ve submitted your information, an experienced mass tort attorney will contact you to discuss your compensation options.
Mandy Voisin is a freelance writer, blogger, and author of Girls of the Ocean and Star of Deliverance. As an accomplished content marketing consultant, mom of four and doctor's wife, Mandy has written hundreds of articles about dangerous drugs and medical devices, medical issues that impact disabled Americans, veterans' healthcare and workers' compensation issues since 2016.