An inferior vena cava (IVC) filter is a medical device that is placed in the inferior vena cava to trap blood clots before they enter the heart or lungs and cause serious injuries or death.Why are patients implanted with IVC Filters?
IVC filters are implanted in patients who have blood clotting issues, and who have possibly been diagnosed with pulmonary embolism or DVTs in the past.What is the problem with an IVC filter?
Many of these filters were placed in patients as a permanent device with no instructions for follow up care or for monitoring of the filters. The filters can tilt, migrate, and fracture, and these problems can cause the filter or a broken off piece of the filter to perforate an organ or vessel. The filters and pieces of the filters can travel to other parts of the body causing serious injuries. Some people sustain injuries when surgeons attempt to remove the filter, especially if the filter has tilted or fractured and has become difficult or impossible to remove.What if you have an IVC filter, but you do not know if you have an injury?
Many people have IVC filters in their bodies and they do not know that the filter has fractured, migrated, or penetrated an organ or some other part of their body. If you have an IVC filter, it is highly advisable to undergo an MRI for the purpose of evaluating the condition of your filter. This need for evaluation is especially important for those individuals who have had the filter in place for more than a few months.What is you do not know what type or brand of filter you have?
Many people who have been implanted with IVC filters do not know the brand of the filter or who manufactured the filter. This information can be obtained from the records maintained at the hospital where the filter was implanted. As a patient, you are entitled under Federal HIPAA laws, to a copy of your medical records. You need to obtain the operative report and the record that contains the product information sticker. This sticker will identify the specific filter that was placed in your body by manufacturer and lot number.What should you do if you have the filter removed?
If you have the filter removed, it is imperative that you ask the removing physician to maintain the filter in the same condition it was in when removed, and that it be provided to you. Many times the physician will insist on sending the filter to the pathology department of the hospital. It is a good idea to contact the pathology department, in writing, before removal of the filter to put the department on notice that the filter is to be retained and returned to you. After you have possession of the filter make sure that it remains in a sealed container, and that you give it to your attorney.
Bard And Cook Filters
Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) There are currently 2 MDLs pending in Federal Court against the manufacturers of Bard filters (Arizona MDL) and Cook filters (Indiana MDL). If you have been injured by either of these two products you can file suit in these MDLs no matter where you live. There are deadlines for filing suit in the MDLs, so it is advisable to contact an attorney as soon as you know that you have been injured by one of these products.
If you have been injured by a filter manufactured by a company other than Bard or Cook, it is still possible to make a claim. Our firm has represented individuals injured by other filters, such as Argon, Boston Scientific, Option and Volcano.