On August 23rd, 2017, an order issued by the U.S. District Court Southern District Of Indiana announced that on October 23rd, 2017, the jury selection for the first Cook Medical IVC Filter bellwether trials would begin. Once the jury is selected then the first trial will begin.
The First Cook Medical Bellwether Trial Plaintiff
The first plaintiff to take their case to trial is a woman who had the Cook Medical Celect IVC filter implanted. Shortly after the device is implanted, it traveled and perforated both her vena cava and duodenum. Her doctors attempted to remove it and initially failed and it wasn’t until two years after the device moved that they were able to successfully take it out of her body.
She noted in her complaint that she continues to suffer side effects because of the damage that the filter did to her internal organs and vena cava.
She is not alone and in fact, more than 1,500 lawsuits have been filed against Cook Medical regarding their IVC filters.
MDL 2570 – What Are Plaintiff’s Alleging?
MDL stands for MultiDistrict Litigation. When lawsuits are placed in an MDL, it means that they have joined with other plaintiffs, sometimes from all over the country, who have filed against the same defendant and who are making similar allegations.
MDL 2570 deals with lawsuits that have been filed against Cook Medical, an Indiana based company which manufacturers two types of IVC filters.
IVC filters are small metal implants which were designed to “catch” blood clots as they travel through the bloodstream, however, not only are there serious risks and side effects associated with these medical devices, researchers are now questioning whether or not the filter actually does anything to prevent blood clots from traveling to other parts of the body.
Each of plaintiffs consolidated in this MDL is claiming the filter caused them harm due to complications like:
IVC Filter Fracture
Even if the main body of the filter stays in place, small metal pieces can break off and travel to any other part of the body, piercing internal organs as it moves.
The filter can cause a perforation or hole in the vein that it has been placed in.
Like the plaintiff in the first bellwether trial, IVC filters have been known to move completely out of their original position and move around the body, leaving a bigger path of destruction than would have occurred if just a piece broke off.
These side effects can be life threatening if the filter enters a vital organ like the heart or liver and causes serious damage. Even if it gets stuck outside of an organ, the body may react by trying to push the foreign body out and forming an abscess which could become infected and make the patient seriously ill. Even once the problem has been identified, it’s incredibly difficult to remove the small metal parts.
This means that often, patients require thousands of dollars in medical care, spend unexpected time in the hospital, and need to take time away from work.
Medical Device Manufacturers Can Be Held Liable
While the advancement of medicine is a wonderful cause, it’s important for companies that are releasing new medical devices to make sure they are focused on the safety of the patient and not on making money.
In order to try and make sure that new products are safe, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has an approval process in place which requires companies to perform studies in order to show that their new drug or device is safe and that any side effects have been identified. But the FDA’s process isn’t perfect and dangerous devices and drugs slip through the cracks.
While nothing can change the trauma that a plaintiff has endured, they do have the right to pursue legal action against the negligent party.
What Can A Lawsuit Provide?
Lawsuits can be filed by both the patient who sustained harm and the loved ones of a patient who died from the complications. If awarded compensation, the award may provide payments for:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Physical Pain & Suffering
- Emotional Trauma
- Loss of Inheritance
- Loss of Consortium
- Funeral & Burial Expenses
This compensation may come through either a successful verdict at the end of a trial or through a carefully negotiated settlement.