When Houston firefighter Jeffrey Pavlock had an IVC filter surgically implanted, the goal was to prevent him from falling pretty to a dangerous blood clot and the plan was to remove the medical device seven weeks later.
Unfortunately, when his doctor performed the surgery, the device was not in the vein where it had been implanted: it had moved and become lodged in a smaller blood vessel. As a result, he had to undergo a second surgery, which was also unsuccessful. Pavlock will require constant monitoring of his health due to the device’s relocation, as well as additional health risks caused by scarring.
Following his ordeal he filed a lawsuit against the IVC filter’s manufacturer, Cook Medical, accusing the company of responsibility for the damages he suffered. A jury agreed and told the company that because of their failure to warn doctors and patients they had to pay him $1.2 million.
The perforations and scarring that Pavlock suffered as a result of the defective IVC filter were not unusual. The company and another IVC filter manufacturer, Bard, have been named as defendants in over 8,000 lawsuits accusing them of negligence and product liability, and there may be many more victims that have not yet stepped forward.
IVC Filters Pose Danger Where They Were Meant to Prevent Them
The IVC filter is a medical device that was initially designed to prevent patients unable to take blood thinners after surgery or disease from the occurrence of a blood clot. The device is implanted in the inferior vena cava (IVC), the largest vein in the body, where it is supposed to catch any blood clots that travel through.
Though the device’s design was thought to be effective at preventing pulmonary embolism, many have traveled to other parts of the body where they cause organ and blood vessel perforation and other injuries and are difficult or impossible to retrieve.
Others break within the body and cause problems, while others have led to infections and hemoglobin clots. Making matters worse, once the IVC filter moves, it can no longer effectively prevent a blood clot from leading to a pulmonary embolism.