Most people have never heard of an IVC filter, but if you are one of the unfortunate individuals who has had this device implanted into your heart as part of a medical procedure, you are likely familiar with its dangers. Fortunately, the mass tort attorneys at Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers have a strong record of success when it comes to representing victims of medical malpractice in Southern California.
What Is an IVC Filter?
The inferior vena cava (IVC for short) is a large vein that carries deoxygenated blood into the heart’s right atrium. An IVC filter is a medical device implanted in the IVC to prevent a pulmonary embolism. The procedure should only be conducted in emergency or high-risk situations, as neither the safety of the procedure, nor its effectiveness, has been well established.
For this reason, the decision of whether or not to be given an IVC filter is a serious one and should not be taken lightly. Only patients who are most at risk of suffering a pulmonary embolism should consider the implantation of the device, such as anyone who has a proven venous thromboembolism or a recurrent venous thromboembolism despite undergoing anticoagulation therapy.
Sometimes doctors will also recommend an IVC filter to patients who are at high risk of complications associated with anticoagulation therapy or who have a history of failing to take their medication as directed. Unfortunately, for many patients, the decision has already been made, and now they are left dealing with the sometimes life-threatening consequences.
What Are the Risks Associated with an IVC Filter?
Many patients with IVC filters have firsthand experience with their dangers after the devices have malfunctioned, in some cases causing tremendous harm. For instance, one woman was severely injured when her IVC filter disintegrated inside her heart, leaving fractured pieces floating free in her cardiovascular system. Her case went to a federal trial in Phoenix, and she was awarded $3.6 million by a jury.
Her story may seem like it has a happy ending, but the sad truth is that she suffered grievous harm and was entitled to be fairly compensated. There are many more documented cases all over the country of patients who have been left to deal with the aftermath of a defective medical device like the IVC filter.
A partial list of the issues associated with a faulty IVC filter includes the following:
- A punctured heart, lung, or other organ
- A punctured inferior vena cava (IVC)
- Device migration
- Filter embolization
- Filter fracture
- Insertion-site thrombosis
- A recurrent deep-vein thrombosis (DVT)
- A recurrent pulmonary embolism (PE)
- Thrombotic complications
- Vena cava thrombosis
In the worst cases, these side effects can lead to death.
What Is a Mass Tort?
The good news is that California laws are meant to protect victims. IVC filter failure falls under what is known as mass tort litigation. This is a lawsuit in which there are many victims due to the same faulty product. These cases are handled differently than an individual lawsuit, such as a car accident claim, because they involve multiple plaintiffs and the litigation often spans separate jurisdictions.
Such cases are known as MDLs, or multi-district litigations. Once an MDL has been approved by a federal court, it is possible for many victims to seek redress together. This is a great opportunity for people who have suffered an injury due to an IVC filter to receive the compensation they deserve. Mass torts are also distinct from class action suits, which do have multiple plaintiffs, but the case is consolidated in one courtroom and the verdict will be divided equally between all the plaintiffs. In a mass tort, the plaintiffs receive different amounts depending on their degree of injury.
You can’t trust a mass tort case like this to just any personal injury lawyer. You want to find a lawyer who has experience with MDL and is familiar with the federal court system. The dedicated and professional team at Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers has a proven track record of representing victims and ensuring they have the resources they need to recover from their injuries. Call us today at (619) 233-5020 to schedule a free consultation.