Contraceptives are an effective way to reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy. Various birth control methods have become increasingly popular among women of reproductive age (approx. 15-44). 2020 statistics report that over half of U.S. women in this age group are currently using one or more contraceptive methods.
Although long-term options offer a sense of assurance, they also come with more intensive procedures and higher risks– ParaGard is one such example that is raising concerns, and for some women, causing permanent damage.
What is Paragard?
Paragard is an intrauterine device, or IUD, which acts as a form of long-term birth control. It is a T-shaped plastic device wrapped in copper wire that is inserted into a woman’s uterus by a healthcare professional; the copper wire works to produce an inflammatory effect which proves toxic to sperm and eggs, thus preventing pregnancy.
Out of the five FDA-approved IUDs, Paragard is the only non-hormonal option, which contributes to its popularity. It’s also the longest-tenured and longest-lasting option– originally approved in 1984, it is said to be effective for up to 10 years after insertion.
The most common side effects of ParaGard include the following:
- Pain and cramping
- Menstrual spotting
- Prolonged menstrual flow
What are the Risks Associated with Paragard?
Although ParaGard has been on the U.S. market for over 30 years, it hasn’t been free from controversy– one initial concern had to do with possible copper toxicity, but a widely-cited study from 1980 found no evidence of increased copper levels in patients who had had the device inserted for two years.
However, the most recent– and most troubling– problem to arise has to do with device breakage. There has been increasing evidence in recent years that the longer the IUD is left inserted, the more chance it has of breaking upon removal. The plastic arms of the T-shaped device as well as the strings that hang down from it are believed to become more brittle as time goes on, and can break and splinter off when extracted.
When pieces of the IUD break off, they can embed themselves into various reproductive organs within the patient’s body, oftentimes causing serious damage and requiring surgery that can significantly impact a woman’s fertility. Extreme cases can even lead to full hysterectomies, or removal of the uterus.
A 2015 report cited seven such instances of device breakage– all the affected patients had had the IUD for over five years, and all but one required additional surgery to remove the broken pieces. The physicians who compiled the report concluded that although ParaGard is largely safe, “the possibility of its breakage should be recognized.”
Have Patients Been Properly Warned?
The health and safety information for ParaGard, provided by its manufacturer Cooper Surgical, blithely mentions that “breakage” of the device during removal “has been reported,” but offers no further information or potential contributing factors.
Because the device is inserted and removed by a patient’s physician, the onus of proper warning and information is largely on their shoulders, not the manufacturer. Several women have already begun to file lawsuits against manufacturers Teva Pharmaceuticals and Cooper Surgical for failing to properly warn them of the device’s risk and for misrepresenting its overall safety.
Am I Eligible for a Successful Claim?
Anyone who has received the ParaGard IUD and experienced complications related to its removal and subsequently required additional procedures to complete the removal is certainly eligible for reimbursement in the form of a Personal Injury or Product Liability claim.
Victims who believe they are entitled to a claim should compile the following materials: proof of ParaGard use; proof of complications related to its removal; proof of additional procedures relative to these complications. A viable argument should be presented regarding the patient’s lack of risk awareness– this is typically done through testimony and review of records.
Please note that any potential case should be brought forth as soon as possible, as ParaGard litigations are beginning to move forward. At the end of 2020, attorneys in multiple states such as California and Georgia were already petitioning to consolidate cases into MDL’s (multidistrict litigations).
If you or someone you know has used the ParaGard IUD and has since been subjected to additional procedures related to its removal, first consult with your physician to address any immediate concerns. Then contact Van Law Firm at (702) 529-1011 to talk with our experienced injury and liability attorneys.
We can help you attain multiple kinds of reimbursement, including:
- Medical compensation
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Don’t hesitate– call today for a free consultation.