Lawsuit Alleges ParaGard Guide Strings Frayed and Implant Broke Inside Woman’s Body

According to allegations raised in a recently filed product liability lawsuit, a North Carolina woman experienced complications during removal of a Paragard IUD, indicating the guide strings frayed and part of the birth control implant broke off inside her body, resulting in the need for additional surgery to remove the pieces.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Mary Bunch on June 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, naming Teva Pharmaceuticals, the Cooper Companies, Inc. and Coopersurgical, Inc. as the defendants.

Paragard is a form of long-acting birth control, which features a T-shaped plastic device wrapped in copper, which is placed in the uterus for up to ten years. However, the birth control is supposed to be easily removed, allowing doctors to use Paragard guide strings to retrieve the IUD during an office procedure, when a woman no longer wants the birth control.

The lawsuit indicates Bunch was implanted with a ParaGard intrauterine device (IUD) in 2012, as a form of non-permanent birth control. However, when she went to have it removed in April 2017, the Paragard strings were frayed, making the device irretrievable.

A second attempt to remove the device was made a week later, and was partially successful. However, the device broke upon removal, leaving a ball portion of the device inside of the plaintiff’s body. An attempt to remove the remaining piece of the ParaGard in June 2018 was unsuccessful, and the debris remains inside of Bunch’s body, the lawsuit indicates.

The case joins a growing number of Paragard IUD lawsuits being pursued against the manufacturer by women who have experienced similar problems with guide strings or the device breaking upon removal. Bunch alleges the manufacturers misled women and the medical community about the dangers associated with removing the IUD, which would have led many women to make different choices regarding birth control and the use of the IUD.

“It is of the utmost importance that women, including the Plaintiff, know all risks associated with a particular type of birth control given that a women’s choice of birth control can have long-term consequences on her fertility and potential childbearing timeline,” Bunch’s lawsuit states. “That is particularly true here, where Defendants intentionally marketed Paragard as a form of birth control that could easily be reversed when a woman wanted to conceive.”

Given common questions of fact and law raised in similar complaints filed throughout the federal court system, centralized pre-trial proceedings have been established before U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May in the Northern District of Georgia, where it is expected a small group of representative claims will be prepared for early trial dates as part of a “bellwether” program, to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be presented throughout the litigation.

While the outcome for these early trials would not be binding on other plaintiffs, they may facilitate ParaGard IUD settlements and avoid the the need for hundreds of individual cases to be scheduled for trial throughout the federal court system in future years.

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