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Cook Medical wins lawsuit related to device malfunction



Bloomington-based Cook Medical won a lawsuit which alleged negligence for issuing defective blood clot filters March 9. 

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana issued summary judgment in favor of Cook Medical on grounds the complainant, Arthur Gage, had waited too long to file the lawsuit after his filter was delivered.

“Our IVC filters are clinically successful devices that are critical to patient wellbeing,” said Mark Breedlove, vice president of the vascular division at Cook Medical, in a news release. “We are dedicated to providing life-saving treatment options for patients and will continue to vigorously defend our IVC filters in future trials.”

The device is intended to prevent pulmonary embolisms, when a blood clot travels to a person’s lungs, which are often fatal. Cook Medical stated in a release blood clot filters save 100,000 lives annually.

A Cook Günther-Tulip Filter was placed in Gage’s vena cava, a large vein carrying blood to the heart, in 2011, according to court documents. 

He almost immediately began to experience shortness of breath and chest pain and was later told that the filter had “perforated his vena cava and could not be removed due to such a high risk of death during the procedure.”

However, the lawsuit related to the incident wasn’t filed until three and a half years later, in November 2014. According to court documents, for the case to have been valid, Gage would have needed to file it within one year and one day of the product’s implantation.

More than 3,000 cases have been filed against Cook Medical because of its blood clot filters, according to drugwatch.com, an online watchdog focused on the medical industry. The cases have been unified into a multi-district litigation, which brings together cases from across the country to be seen by one judge in one district.

Judge Richard Young of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana oversees all the cases because Cook Medical is headquartered in Bloomington, and he selected three to be tried as “bellwethers” to gauge results and simplify following cases.

Gage's case was the second. In the first bellwether case related to the device, an Evansville jury ruled unanimously in November in favor of Cook Medical. A third bellwether case is scheduled for later this year.

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