The federal court overseeing pretrial proceedings for hundreds of Cook IVC filter lawsuits has chosen three cases for the proceeding’s first bellwether trials. Those trials will be conducted in 2017, and could provide clues as to how juries might rule in similar cases involving Cook Medical, Inc.’s retrievable blood clot filters.
According to an Order issued in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana on July 19th, the first bellwether trial will involve a case filed on behalf of a woman who received a Cook Celect IVC filter in November 2010. Her doctors were unable to retrieve the device the following March. In subsequent years, however, the plaintiff began to experience serious complications that necessitated removal of the filter.
“Due to persistent severe gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal Pain Elizabeth Jane Hill underwent an endoscopy procedure where it was determined that Cook filter that had been implanted almost three (3) years earlier had perforated through her inferior vena cava and into her duodenum,” the lawsuit states. “Elizabeth Jane Hill was thereafter to a tertiary hospital, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, where her filter was removed; however, there was narrowing at explant site of the inferior vena cava and the bowel.”
A second case slated for trial, Gage v. Cook Medical, Inc. et al., 1:14-cv -1875-RLY-TAB, was filed on behalf of a Gunther Tulip recipient. The third, Brand v. Cook Medical, Inc. et al., (1:14-cv-6018-RLY-TAB), involves another Celect recipient.
The Southern District of Indiana is home to more than 800 IVC filter lawsuits filed on behalf of individuals who suffered serious complications, allegedly due to the malfunction of a Cook Celect or Gunther Tulip device. The retrievable devices are implanted in the inferior vena cava in patients at risk for pulmonary embolism, but who are unable to use standard blood thinning medications. While in place, they intercept blood clots that have broken loose from other parts of the body, and prevent the clots from traveling to the heart and lungs. Retrievable filters, like the Celect and Gunther Tulip products, are intended to be removed from the body once the threat of pulmonary embolism has passed.
Plaintiffs pursuing Cook IVC filter lawsuits are alleged to have suffered life-threatening injuries, including perforation of the vena cava, after the devices fractured and migrated inside their body.
In April 2012, a study published in CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology found that all Cook Celect and Gunther Tulip filters showed some degree of vena caval perforation just 71 days from implantation. Full perforation of at least one component all the way through the IVC wall occurred in 86% of all cases, while tilting was observed in 40% of cases.