Nevada patients harmed by IVC filter devices may be able to sue the device's manufacturer for negligence and join the thousands of other victims across the country in multi-district litigation. These devices are supposed to prevent blood clots, but malfunctioning ones can lead to horrific injuries including punctured organs, embolisms, strokes, and possibly death.
Nevada plaintiffs in medical device lawsuits may be able to recover sizeable compensatory damages for:
- hospital bills and long-term care,
- lost earnings,
- loss of future earnings,
- pain and suffering, and/or
- wrongful death
In some cases, the court may award the plaintiff punitive damages. And in Nevada, victims may sue for negligence within two (2) years of the date of the injury.
In this article, our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about IVC filter lawsuits in Nevada, including negligence claims, standards of proof, and statutes of limitations. Click on a topic to jump to that section:
- 1. What can I do if I got injured by an IVC filter in Las Vegas, NV?
- 2. What money can I get?
- 3. Whom can I sue?
- 4. How do I prove an IVC filter claim in Las Vegas, NV?
- 5. When can I sue?
- 6. Should I file my lawsuit in Nevada or join a federal class action?
- 7. What are IVC filters used for?
- 8. Have IVC filters been recalled?
- 9. Resources
- 10. Related medical device litigation in Nevada
Patients who suffered from internal bleeding or punctured organs following an IVC filter insertion may be able to sue the device's manufacturer (the defendant) for negligence. Plaintiffs in Nevada negligence lawsuits have to show four things in order to win:
- The defendant(s) owed the plaintiff a duty of care;
- The defendant(s) breached this duty;
- This breach caused the plaintiff's injury; and
- This injury resulted in damages.1
A negligence lawsuit against the IVC filter's manufacturer would allege that:
- The manufacturer was negligent by designing a faulty, poor device because it causes a disproportionately high number of failures and has no medical benefit in many cases.
- The manufacturer failed to warn physicians or patients about the elevated risks of the device breaking, which in turn causes its metal pieces to travel through the blood stream and possibly harm organs.
- The manufacturer concealed its research and withheld information which showed that the device had problems.
- The manufacturer's FDA application contained a forged signature.
Consequently, plaintiffs would argue that these breaches in duty committed by the defendants caused their injuries.2
IVC filters injuries typically occur when the device gets dislocated, fractures, shifts, tilts, migrates, gets damaged, detaches, becomes malpositioned, and/or breaks apart. Pieces...sometimes tiny shards and splinters... from the metal device then snake through the blood stream, which may cause the following delayed injuries:
- punctured veins,
- perforated organs,
- holes or tears in the lungs or hearts,
- internal bleeding,
- cardiac or pericardial tamponade
- nerve injury,
- scars in veins,
- bruising at the access site,
- fluid build-up around the heart,
- respiratory distress,
- deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the lower limb or the vena cava (caval thrombosis),
- blood clots at the site where the device was originally implanted (insertion site),
- IVC occlusion,
- ventricle tachycardia, and
- device embolization
When pieces of the device travel to and lodge in the lungs or the heart, patients may experience a host of serious medical events such as internal bleeding, hemorrhaging, pulmonary embolism, stroke, or even death. Typical symptoms of these injuries include confusion, lightheadedness, nausea, shortness of breath, swollen legs, chronic pain in the neck or chest area, chronic pain, hypotension, and irregular heartbeats.
In some cases, patients have to live the rest of their lives with filter pieces inside of them because it is too dangerous to try to extract them. Note that complications can also arise during the surgeries to implant or extract the device. These operations could result in:
- an adverse kidney reaction to the contrast agent,
- a heartbeat that is abnormal or irregular,
- air embolization,
- pneumothorax (a collapsed lung), and/or
- hemothorax, which is when blood pools between the chest wall and lung.3
An April 2013 study featured in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) examined 952 patients with IVC filters, 680 (approx.) of which had retrievable (removable) filters. Doctors were able to take out only 58 of them. Some patients' filters became embedded or punctured a blood vessel, among other injuries.
People injured by IVC filters may be able to recover compensatory damages for:
- All doctor- and hospital-related bills,
- Pain and suffering,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of future earnings, and/or
Punitive damages (if applicable)
If the victim died, his/her family may be able to bring a wrongful death claim to recover money for medical expenses, loss of contributions, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering.
Victims may be able to sue the IVC filter's manufacturer. The common ones are listed below:
IVC Filter Manufacturer
IVC Filter Device
Optional Vena Cava Filter
C.R. Bard (Bard Peripheral Vascular)
G2 Express/ G2X
Recovery (withdrawn in 2005)
Option ELITE (distributed by Argon Medical Devices, Inc.)
Crux Vena Cava Filter System
Plaintiffs in negligence lawsuits in Nevada have to prove that it is more likely than not that the defendant was negligent. This standard of proof is called, "by the preponderance of the evidence." Therefore, evidence that typically figures into medical device lawsuits include:
- The plaintiff's medical history and records
- Expert medical testimony drawing a causal connection between the medical device and the victim's injuries
- Marketing materials and labels that show the defendant omitted key information warning physicians and patients of possible hazards
Learn more about proving negligence in Nevada.
Victims have a two (2) year window following their injury to bring a negligence lawsuit. However, anyone harmed by IVC filters in Nevada should still seek out legal counsel from a Las Vegas personal injury attorney; it may still be possible to join an existing lawsuit (see the next question).4
Most medical device lawsuits get consolidated as a "multi-district litigation" (MDL). MDLs are not the same as class actions; instead, a MDL is a streamlined method of determining preliminary matters for several lawsuits with similar facts and injuries. After those preliminary matters are decided, the lawsuits get transferred back to their original courts, and each case may be resolved individually. It is not unusual for mass torn lawsuits to get resolved during the MDL stage.
Some MDLs concerning IVC filters include IN RE: Bard IVC Filters Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2641) out of Arizona, and IN RE: Cook Medical, Inc., IVC Filters Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation (MD No. 2570) out of Indiana. Just this past February, 2015, C.R. Bard settled with a Nevada male patient who alleged that its broken G2 filter perforated his heart, resulting in open heart surgery and long-term hospitalization.5
Note that the distinct facts of a plaintiff's case determine the best course of action for litigating it. A Nevada personal injury attorney's job is to walk the plaintiff through all the options and provide all the information necessary for the plaintiff to make the best decision for moving forward.
The purpose is to catch blockages while still in the bloodstream so they do not enter the brain, heart, kidney or lungs. Patients with an elevated risk of experiencing pulmonary embolism but who cannot take anticoagulants (blood-thinners) may have the filter implanted into their inferior vena cava (IVC). Some of these filters are permanent, while others are temporary ("optional" or "retrievable").6
First used in 1979, IVC filters are basket-shaped, cage-like, spidery contraptions with numerous wire legs. Surgeons insert the device into the patient's inferior vena cava through a small hole in the patient's neck or groin. (The vena cava is a big vein that extends from the lower body to the heart and lungs.) Most of these devices are typically meant to be removed as soon as the blood clot risk passes. The longer they stay in the body, usually the more difficult they are to retrieve.
Some medical facilities that perform or have performed IVC filter procedures in Las Vegas include:
Some. Bard implemented a Class 2 Device Recall for the Denali filter in 2015. These devices did not have critical label information regarding patients with serious sepsis and nickel-titanium alloy sensitivity. A Cordis filter was recalled in 2013 to correct a labelling error. And the Greenfield Vena Cava Filter was temporarily recalled in 2005.
In 2010, the FDA issued a warning about how long-term risks of IVC filters include “lower limb deep vein thrombosis [DVT], filter fracture, filter migration, filter embolization, and IVC perforation.” Then the FDA filed another warning in 2014. Therefore, the FDA recommended that doctors remove the devices right after pulmonary embolism ceases to be a risk, typically 29 to 54 days after implantation.7
Disturbingly, C.R. Bard's filter was approved for sale through the FDA 501k fast-track process; so there was none of the requisite clinical testing that other new devices are subject to. Although reports of IVC filter injuries surfaced in 2004, the public remained unaware until 2010. There is also evidence that C.R. Bard may have forged the signature of regulatory analyst Kay Fuller on its application for FDA clearance.
Some informational websites and news articles are:
- Johns Hopkins - IVC filter information
- Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology - IVC Fracture & Migration
- Science Daily - Notable decrease in IVC filter usage after FDA advisory
- Clinical trial for "Predicting the Safety and Effectiveness of Inferior Vena Cava Filters (PRESERVE)"
Thousands of patients suffer the consequences from medical devices that are either defective or do not work well with their bodies. For information on how to file lawsuits for other medical device failures, visit our informational articles:
- Hernia Mesh lawsuits in Nevada
- Bair Hugger Warming Blanket lawsuits in Nevada
- Attune Knee Implants lawsuits in Nevada
- Essure lawsuits in Nevada
Many people who get IVC filters are unable to take blood thinners like Xarelto, which also can cause complications. See our informational article on Xarelto lawsuits in Nevada. Other blood thinners available to patients include Pradaxa, Eliquis and Coumadin (warfarin).
Call a Nevada personal injury attorney...
Has your body been harmed from a medical device? Our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys can sue for financial damages to cover all your expenses. Give us a call at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a FREE consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, so we do not get paid unless you get paid.
- See, e.g. Scialabba v. Brandise Const. Co., 112 Nev. 965, 921 P.2d 928 (1996).
- See Stephanie Gosk and Tim Sandler, Why Did Firm Keep Selling Problem Blood-Clot Filters? NBC (December 31, 2015); Stacey Naggiar, Stephanie Gosk, and Tim Sandler; Did Forged Signature Clear Way for Dangerous Blood-Clot Filter? NBC (September 4, 2015).
- See Jeffrey E. Hull, Scott W. Robertson, PhD, Bard Recovery Filter: Evaluation and Management of Vena Cava Limb Perforation, Fracture, and Migration, Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, Volume 20, Issue 1, Pages 52–60, (January, 2009)
- NRS 11.190.
- Phillips v. C.R. Bard, Inc. et all, cv00344 (2012).
- Johns Hopkins - IVC filter information.
FDA warning letter to C.R Bard; Class 2 Device Recall The Greenfield Vena Cava Filter; Class 1 Device Recall OptEase Vena Cava Filter; Class 1 Device Recall Greenfield Vena Cava Filter System; Prevalence of fracture and fragment embolization of Bard retrievable vena cava filters and clinical implications including cardiac perforation and tamponade, Arch Intern Med. 2010 Nov 8;170(20):1827-31; Prevalence and clinical consequences of fracture and fragment migration of the Bard G2 filter: imaging and clinical follow-up in 684 implantations, J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2014 Jun;25(6):941-8.