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Houston Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Personal Injury > Federal Jury Awards $3M in IVC Filter Lawsuit

Federal Jury Awards $3M in IVC Filter Lawsuit


IVC filters are a part of a potentially life-saving clot-busting technology that is installed directly into veins. The medical device is supposed to break up clots before they reach the heart or lungs or block a vein or artery but, in some cases, have been shown to break apart themselves leading to outcomes that are just as bad as having allowed the clot to pass.

High failure rates have plagued certain brands of IVC filters and the results often cause life-altering injuries to patients. These include:

  • The IVC filter fractures and breaks apart within the vein or artery;
  • The IVC filter does not remain in the vein or artery where it was installed and moves around the body;
  • The IVC filter perforates the vein or artery causing internal bleeding;
  • The IVC filter actually causes an embolism (which it is designed to prevent); and
  • The IVC filter causes severe pain.

In some cases, these negative outcomes can lead to other negative outcomes.

Federal Jury Finds in Favor of Plaintiff in IVC Filter Lawsuit 

A federal jury awarded plaintiff, Tonya Brand, $3 million, after Brand told jurors that the IVC filter had disintegrated and she found a piece of it in her thigh. The filter is supposedly designed to withstand the flow of blood and prevent clots from getting through. The blood flow should, theoretically, break up the clot before it can do serious damage. In this case, it was the filter itself that broke into pieces. She testified that some of the pieces cannot be removed because surgery would be too dangerous.

The defendant, Cook Medical, managed to win two earlier lawsuits alleging similar design defects with their product. This was the first successful lawsuit against Cook.

The FDA, in response to a number of adverse incidents, now recommends removing the filters after one or two months. In cases where they are left inside veins and arteries, they can break down and disintegrate. Further, one study appears to show that Cook was aware of the problem before introducing the product to the market. The filters had a perforation rate of over 79%. In patients over the age of 65, the medical device actually increased their risk of death.

As of today, there are over 5,000 complaints alleging defects in the filter resulted in adverse medical results. Despite this, these devices were cleared by the FDA for use in patients with a high risk of pulmonary or other embolism.

How did that happen? Well, the FDA will fast-track certain technologies if they are sufficiently similar to other medical devices or products out on the market already. They will do so without adequate testing and, oftentimes, this leads to doctors not being warned about certain complications or the devices themselves being responsible for causing the problems they’re trying to avoid.

Talk to a Houston Medical Injury Attorney Today 

If you’ve been injured by a doctor, a defective medical device, or a dangerous drug, talk to the Houston personal injury attorneys at Livingston & Flowers, P.L.L.C. We have won or settled multi-million dollar lawsuits for injured clients and we can do the same for you.


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