When Houston firefighter Jeffrey Pavlock had surgery in 2015 to implant a Cook Medical IVC filter, he was told that the device would help to protect him against the risk of deadly blood clots which might travel to his heart or lungs, leading to pulmonary embolism. But the Cook Celect IVC filter used in his procedure ended up causing severe injuries and a need for health monitoring for the rest of his life. After hearing the details of what happened to him, a Texas state jury has awarded him $1.2 million in compensation for his medical expenses and other damages.
The original plan for Pavlock’s Celect IVC filter was for it to remain in his body just until his vulnerability to blood clots had passed. This is in keeping with the FDA’s recommendation that the devices be removed between 29 and 54 days after implantation. But when the surgeons attempted removal within that time frame, they found that the device had migrated within his body, perforating his aorta and small intestine before finally coming to rest and embedding itself within a blood vessel from which it could not be surgically extracted. Not only is it at risk for breaking within his body, but it could also move again at some point in the future, putting him at further risk.
IVC Filters Have Affected Thousands
Mr. Pavlock is not the first to be affected by complications with IVC filters. The devices, which are shaped like cages, were designed to be implanted in the largest vein in the body, the inferior vena cava, where they are meant to catch blood clots. But after the devices began being used, patients began experiencing severe complications.
The U. S. Food and Drug Administration has received complaints about complications from thousands of people, and there are currently more than 8,000 IVC filter lawsuits pending in federal court. The plaintiffs in these cases tell stories similar to what happened to the Houston firefighter, and some have resulted in death.