B. Braun Medical, Inc. is facing a new IVC filter lawsuit, after one of the company’s blood clot filters allegedly caused the death of a North Carolina man. The Allentown Morning Call reports that at least two additional product liability claims involving B. Braun devices are currently pending in U.S. courts.
According to a complaint filed this month in the U.S. District Court, Western District of North Carolina, Keith A. Waters’ was implanted with B. Braun’s VenaTech LP IVC filter in March 2015. The device subsequently fractured, which allowed pieces to migrate and lodge in his heart and lungs. Waters died in August 2015, allegedly due to IVC filter complications that included filter thrombosis, multiple pulmonary emboli, and cardiac arrest. The lawsuit charges that the IVC filter Waters received was defective and dangerous when it was sold. (Case No. No. 5:17-CV-61)
At least one other IVC filter lawsuit involving a B. Braun device has been filed in federal court, according to the Morning Call. Last year, a New Jersey man filed a similar complaint in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, after pieces of an allegedly defective B. Braun blood clot filter became lodged in his heart, liver and aorta.
IVC filters are implanted in the inferior vena cava to prevent pulmonary embolism in patients unable to take standard blood-thinning medications. B. Braun’s VenaTech LP device is intended for permanent placement. However, many IVC filters are retrievable, and are designed to be removed once a patient is out of danger.
In August 2010, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warned that its medical device database had received hundreds of reports detailing IVC filter complications, including cases of device fracture and migration, as well as incidents involving organ and blood vessel perforation.
“The FDA is concerned that these retrievable IVC filters, intended for short-term placement, are not always removed once a patient’s risk for PE subsides,” the agency stated. “Known long term risks associated with IVC filters include but are not limited to lower limb deep vein thrombosis (DVT), filter fracture, filter migration, filter embolization and IVC perforation.”
In May 2014, the FDA issued a second alert to remind doctors of the importance of IVC filter retrieval.
Court documents indicate that more than 1,500 lawsuits have been filed against Cook Medical, Inc. on behalf of patients who were allegedly injured as a result of the company’s Celect and Gunther Tulip retrievable IVC filters. The majority of these claims have been centralized in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, where bellwether trials are scheduled to begin in October.
C.R. Bard, Inc. has been named a defendant in 1,584 product liability claims involving its Recovery and G2 retrievable filters. Those cases have been centralized in a second multidistrict litigation that is now underway in the U.S. District Court, District of Arizona.