A Philadelphia jury on Monday awarded nearly $34 million to a Georgia woman who was seriously injured by a device that was supposed to save her life.
Surgeons operated on Tracy Reed-Brown in 2010 to place a blood clot-catching “Option IVC” filter manufactured by Rex Medical LP into a vein.
The filter, which was designed to be removable, was installed to help prevent a pulmonary embolism from blood clots traveling into Reed-Brown’s lungs. However, the design of the device was allegedly defective. The filter in Reed-Brown’s case became impossible to remove. Doctors struggled for three hours in 2016 in an attempt to dislodge the filter.
The device remains inside her body.
Her attorney, David Matthews, argued that the device perforated her inferior vena cava and punctured her pancreas, aorta, and renal vein. Matthews said a study had shown the product was prone to failure.
“If she leaves it in, the organs may fail,” Matthews said in a statement. “She may be injured, and it may kill her.”
Rex argued that the original surgeons implanted the device incorrectly and that Reed-Brown never received any follow-up care.
The case against Rex Medical was the first to go to trial as part of a mass tort program created to consolidate more than 700 lawsuits filed in Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas over Rex’s Option filters, said Reed-Brown’s Philadelphia attorney, Rosemary Pinto.
“Tracy still has a lot of issues,” Pinto said. “Her choices are to leave it in or try again to remove it with open surgery. Neither option is attractive.”
Pinto said several more trials are scheduled.