A woman who sued a medical device maker and doctors over serious injuries she suffered from an IVC filter that splintered in her body and punctured her spine and heart was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages by a Phoenix federal jury.
The jury found that medical device maker C.R. Bard was responsible for 80 percent of the woman’s compensatory award – or $1.6 million. They also found that a radiologist who failed to flag a visible metal shard from the device on an X-ray in 2009 was responsible for the remaining $400,000 in damages. The jury also said that Bard is liable for punitive damages in the case.
The trial was the first bellwether in a multidistrict litigation accusing Bard of failing to warn about the dangers associated with its blood clot capturing devices called IVC filters. The devices are tiny open-ended cages that are implanted in the inferior vena cava, a large vein that delivers deoxygenated blood from the lower extremities. The device is designed to capture blood clots before they reach the heart or lungs.
The trial involved the case of Sherr-Una Booker, who was 37 when she received Bard’s G2 filter. In 2009, a radiologist performed an X-ray and noted that the device had fractured inside her inferior vena cava. Shortly afterward, fractured pieces of the device lodged into her spine and heart, requiring open-heart surgery.
In 2014, Booker underwent surgery to retrieve the wayward metal bits of filter, but not all pieces could be removed. Some remain in her body, posing potential future health risks. The jury did not find the surgeon responsible as the cause of Booker’s injuries, as Bard had argued.