The first bellwether trial in the Cook Medical IVC Filter multidistrict litigation (MDL) is slated to begin next week and involves Elizabeth Jane Hill, the San Diego Legal Examiner reports.
The MDL was established in 2014 and includes 2,650 claims, according to the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. Hill and the other plaintiffs argue that Cook Medical failed to warn them about the risks of retrievable inferior vena cava, or IVC, filters.
Hill’s experience demonstrates those risks, including a high risk that the device will deteriorate and that fragmented pieces could travel through the body puncturing organs and causing other potentially life-threating injuries. Because of these risks, the devices have been called “deadly missiles.”
In August 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that retrievable IVC filters should be implanted only for short-term use because of their tendency to deteriorate and fracture over time.
As previously described by Beasley Allen, IVC filters are cage-like devices implanted in the inferior vena cava – the body’s largest vein. The devices are used to catch blood clots before they reach vital organs such as the heart and lungs. These devices are used when blood thinners are not an option.
Prior to back surgery, Hill was implanted with a Cook Celect IVC filter as a precautionary measure. However, her vena cava and small intestine were perforated when the filter migrated. The filter was finally removed two years after it was implanted by using advanced retrieval techniques and following at least one failed retrieval attempt.
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San Diego Legal Examiner
U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation