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Monday, May 29, 2017

What Do I Have to Prove In Medical Device Lawsuits?

Vein filter injuries are very common in the United States. While no patient expects an implanted inferior vena cava (IVC) filter to fail or cause permanent body injury, many filters end up doing just that.

Human life is fragile. Manufacturers of medical devices owe a duty of care to patients to manufacture devices that are fit for purpose and safe for use. When a device manufacturer disregards this duty, causing injury to a patient, that patient can claim damages from the negligent manufacturer for medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages incurred as a result of the injury.

If you have been injured by an IVC filter implanted in your body, consult a Texas medical devices lawyer to start your journey to compensation.

What Are IVC Filters?

IVC filters are small devices that look like a net or a cage and are implanted in a blood vessel to capture blood clots. The filters are usually implanted in the inferior vena cava transporting blood into the lungs for oxygenation. The filters catch blood clots before they enter the lungs, reducing the risk of a pulmonary embolism.

The filters are usually implanted in patients who cannot take anticoagulants or blood thinning medicine. The FDA recommends that filters only stay in the body temporarily before being removed.

C.R. Bard and Cook Medical are the two largest manufacturers of IVC filters. Some of their filter devices include:   

  • Bard G2
  • Bard G2X
  • Bard Eclipse
  • Cook Celect
  • Cook Gunther Tulip

Other IVC filters made by other companies include:

  • Argon IVC Filter
  • Cordis TrapEase
  • Rex Medical Option ELITE

Dangers Posed by IVC Filters

Faulty, defective or poorly manufactured IVC filters pose many dangers to patients:

  • They can shift position after implantation, reducing their effectiveness in catching blood clots
  • They can erode the blood vessel they are implanted in, causing perforation. Numerous studies have shown IVC filters perforating blood vessels after a couple of months.
  • Their parts can break free and travel to major body organs such as the heart and lungs causing severe damage
  • They may get clogged by blood clots, obstructing blood flow
  • They may become embedded in the blood vessel, making it impossible to remove them.

Common symptoms of injury from IVC filters include shortness of breath and chest pain.

If you have suffered injury as a result of a faulty IVC filtration device, you can bring an action against the manufacturer for negligence, defects in the design and manufacture of the filter, breach of warranty and failure to warn. You can claim damages from the manufacturer for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and more.

Where claims against one manufacturer are numerous, they can be consolidated and filed in one court that may be in a different state such as in Pennsylvania. The manufacturer can also be sued in a class action suit by all injured parties.

What to Prove in Medical Device Lawsuits

To be successful in a suit against the manufacturer of a defective IVC filter, you will have to prove that:

  • The IVC filter manufacturer owed you a duty of care as a manufacturer of a medical device not to harm you
  • The manufacturer breached that duty of care by manufacturing a defective product. Here you must show that the product was indeed defective (the filter shifted in the body, its parts broke away or it failed to perform its function)
  • This breach of care is what directly caused your injury
  • You suffered damages such as medical expenses or pain and suffering as a result of the injury.

For an experienced lawyer, proving these factors is not difficult as long as the injured patient has safely kept good evidence such as medical receipts, doctor’s appointment cards and other important medical documents.

If you or a loved one has been injured by an IVC filter implanted in the body, contact a Texas medical devices lawyer for guidance on how to protect your rights.

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