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According to allegations raised in a product liability lawsuit filed by a Mississippi man, problems with a Bard Eclipse blood clot filter caused him to suffer severe injuries when the device “grossly tilted” after implantation, perforating his inferior vena cava.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Alec Caldwell in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi on December 9, indicating that an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter manufactured by C.R. Bard. tilted to a nearly perpendicular position from where it was first placed, preventing doctors from removing the device.
Caldwell indicates that in September 2010 he received a Bard Eclipse filter, which is a small, spider-like device implanted into the inferior vena cava to “catch” blood clots that may break free elsewhere in the body, preventing them from traveling to the lungs where they may cause a pulmonary embolism.
The Bard Eclipse is part of a family of “retrievable” IVC filters manufactured by C.R. Bard, which are designed to be removed once the risk of pulmonary embolism has passed. Other products include the Bard Recovery, Bard G2, Bard Denali and Bard Meridian filters. In recent years, each of the devices have been linked to reports of IVC filter complications, where the filter may move out of position, puncture the vein or fracture, potentially causing small pieces to travel to the heart or lungs.
“The Eclipse Filter implanted in plaintiff subsequently ‘grossly tilted’ to the point where it was ‘almost horizontal’, perforated the inferior vena cava to the extent that ‘at least 5 of the prominence of the filter [were] seen outside of the IVC with 2 of the legs abutting the anterior and posterior wall of the abdominal aorta’,” according to the lawsuit filed by Caldwell, “migrating such that the legs of the Eclipse filter now overlap the central end of the plaintiff’s venous stent; and the filter, which was intended to be retrievable, can no longer be removed, which will ultimately result in the arms and/or legs of the Eclipse filter fracturing and embolizing (if this has not already occurred).”
The case joins a number of similar Bard G2 filter lawsuits, Bard Recovery Filter lawsuits and other IVC filter lawsuits being pursued throughout the federal court system by individuals throughout the U.S., alleging that the products feature a defective and unreasonably dangerous design.
Caldwell’s complaint notes that recent studies have questioned the safety and effectiveness of all IVC filters, including those by Bard.
“Years after the implantation of retrievable filters into the bodies of patients, scientists began to study the effectiveness of retrievable filters — studies that Bard itself had never done before placing the product on the market,” the lawsuit indicates. “As recently as October 2015, an expansive article published in the Annals of Surgery concerning trauma patients inserted with IVC filters concluded that IVC filters were not effective in preventing pulmonary emboli, and instead actually caused thrombi to occur.”
Caldwell is presenting claims against Bard for manufacturing and designing a defective product, releasing defective information, negligence, failure to recall, failure to warn, negligent misrepresentation, breach of warranty, fraudulent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, and violating Mississippi consumer protection laws; seeking both punitive and compensatory damages.
The case will be consolidated with dozens of other complaints involved in the federal Bard IVC filter litigation, which is centralized in the federal court system before U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell in the District of Arizona as part of an MDL, or Multi-District Litigation.
As IVC filter lawyers continue to review and file additional claims for individuals throughout the U.S. who have experienced problems, it is ultimately expected that Bard will face hundreds, if not several thousand, additional cases.
During the coordinated pretrial proceedings, it is expected that Judge Campbell will select a small group of “bellwether” cases, which will be prepared for early trial dates to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation. While the outcomes of these cases will not be binding on other claims, they may facilitate IVC filter settlements with Bard that would avoid the need for trials to be scheduled in courts nationwide.