Hundreds of thousands of patients receive inferior vena cava (IVC) filters every year to prevent potentially dangerous blood clots from causing catastrophic damage. Inserted into the vena cava, these filters are designed to trap blood clots and prevent any clots from traveling to the lungs.
Patients who aren’t able to use blood thinners, or who don’t respond well to the treatments, often have these metal filters inserted. Although the filters have saved many lives, some have caused severe injuries and death.
One of the most commonly used IVC filters is the Recovery filter, created by medical equipment giant C.R. Bard. Over the last decade, thousands of filters were implanted into patients, and although many may have saved lives, some have caused tragic deaths.
Dodi Froehlich received a Recovery filter when the doctors deemed her at risk for a pulmonary embolism (PE) after she was involved in a car accident. After implantation of the Recovery filter, a piece of the filter broke off and pierced her heart, causing her to lose consciousness. Open-heart surgery saved her life. Another patient, Gloria Adams, received the filter when she suffered a brain aneurysm. A clot later pushed the filter into her heart and caused her to die.
After its application for Recovery was initially denied, Bard hired regulation specialist Kay Fuller to help it receive approval. After she voiced major concerns about the filter’s safety, Fuller alleges the company threatened to fire her. Instead, Fuller resigned, but not before refusing to sign the FDA application and alerting the Administration of the filter’s shortcomings. Later, the application was submitted with Fuller’s signature, which she claims was forged.
Additionally, after Bard received reports of the deaths and injuries, it hired a public relations firm to devise a crisis management plan. Rather than recall the filters, Bard continues to sell them, potentially putting many other lives at stake.