Family Sues Boston Scientific over Defective IVC Filter that Killed Truck Driver

Boston Scientific makes the dangerous Greenfield Vena Cava Filters.
Boston Scientific makes the dangerous Greenfield Vena Cava Filters.

Federal litigation is building against Boston Scientific Corp. over defects in its IVC filter, a device implanted to control pulmonary embolisms (PE), a sudden blockage in a lung artery.

The family of a woman truck driver from Ohio filed a wrongful death suit after the company’s IVC filter perforated her inferior vena cava vein, killing her.

Even though plaintiffs are filing more cases against Boston Scientific over its Greenfield Vena Cava Filter, today there is no multidistrict litigation docket (MDL) for the litigation. “We believe it is possible that more cases will be filed and a motion for consolidation and transfer may be filed in an effort to form an MDL,” said John Ray, a leading consultant who has advised attorneys who practice in Mass Torts for more than a decade.

Greenfield Vena Cava Filter
Greenfield Vena Cava Filter

Boston Scientific, headquartered in Marlborough, Massachusetts, designed, manufactured, marketed and sold the Greenfield IVC Filter. It is a basket-like structure with 6 struts, each with a curved hook, and is designed to catch blood clots.

FDA warning and recall

The FDA recalled the Greenfield IVC Filter in May 2007 after reports of detachment at the bond between the carrier capsule and the outer sheath of the Greenfield Vena Cava Filters, causing a risk of cardiac and pulmonary embolization.

It also issued a warning on August 9, 2010 against leaving IVC filters in for extended periods of time, because they have a tendency to cause life-threatening problems.

The FDA reported that since 2005, there were 921 adverse event reports involving IVC filters, of which 328 involved device migration, 146 involved detachments of device components and embolizations, 70 involved perforation of the IVC, and 56 involved IVC filter breaks.

Dangerous medical device

The co-administrators of estate of Cindi K. Ratliff filed a lawsuit in US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, alleging product liability, breach of warranty, negligence and wrongful death, Case: 2:15-cv-00076-GLF-NMK.

In 2004 Ratliff, of East Fultonham, Ohio, was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs. That year a surgeon implanted a Boston Scientifi IVC filter in her right inferior vena cava.

On May 3, 2013, she was working as a long‐haul truck driver and traveled to Oregon. While stopped at a rest area located on I‐5 in the vicinity of Coburg, Oregon, she suffered a medical emergency.  Shortly afterwards she was pronounced dead by medics who had been called to the scene. An autopsy that day determined the immediate cause of death was “Perforation of Inferior Vena Cava by Greenfield Filter with Retroperitoneal Hemorrhage.”

The lawsuit charges:

  • Boston Scientific knew or should have known that its Greenfield Vena Cava Filter when used as expected and intended, carrie the risk of breaking free from its implantation site, migrating, perforating the vena cava, and causing serious injury and death to patients.
  • Boston Scientific failed to properly design and manufacture Greenfield Vena Cava Filter.
  • Boston Scientific failed to give adequate warnings about the hazards associated with the filter.
  • Boston Scientific violated Ohio’s Product Liability Act.

The next of kin seek damages for loss of support, loss of services, loss of society of the decedent including loss of companionship, loss of prospective inheritance, and extreme mental anguish as a result of her death.

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