The Paragard intrauterine device (IUD) was originally met with wide acclaim for its use as a long-term and reversible form of birth control.
While it’s effective for preventing pregnancy, the device has led to an increasing number of legal claims in recent years.
Since 2010, more than 1,600 women have filed reports with the FDA claiming that the device broke during its removal, and many more women have initiated lawsuits regarding health complications that arose during their use of the Paragard IUD.
Experiencing a Paragard-related injury or complication is frightening and can lead to a need for surgical intervention. Depending upon the extent of the injuries, women can also permanently lose their ability to have children. Due to the ongoing issues with the Paragard IUD, it’s vital that you understand the potential dangers and know what to do if you experience a health complication related to this copper IUD.
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How the Paragard IUD Works
The Paragard IUD is a T-shaped device made from plastic wrapped in copper wire. Teva Pharmaceuticals began manufacturing it in the 1980s, but it was acquired by The Cooper Companies, Inc. in 2017.
Since its release, the device has been the only form of copper IUD used in the U.S., and women often use it as a non-hormonal form of birth control. The device requires a medical professional to place it in the uterus, and women must return to a physician to have it removed.
Unfortunately, even with professional care, the arms of the device have a tendency to fracture, leaving a free-floating object in the uterus. The broken pieces of the device’s arms can embed themselves in the woman’s uterus, leading to issues like:
- Organ damage
Potential Risks Associated With Paragard
Although infertility and internal organ damage are the worst-case outcomes for health complications from the Paragard IUD, women have also reported other issues that began from the moment of the device’s insertion.
Problems that can occur during or soon after the insertion of the device include:
- Spotting and bleeding between periods
- Severe menstrual cramps
- Back and stomach pain
- Longer and heavier periods
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
The Paragard IUD also seems to generate more frequent problems compared to other types of similar devices.
For example, one study found that 10.2 percent of Paragard users experienced a complete expulsion of the device from their body, while only 4.2 percent of people who used the Mirena IUD had a similar experience.
In cases of an incomplete expulsion, surgery may be required to remove the leftover pieces of the device. A few of the additional dangers associated with the expulsion or removal of the Paragard IUD include the following:
- Device migration
- Uterine inflammation and infection
- Perforated uterine wall
- Scarring of the uterus
Surgical intervention is often necessary to correct the damage caused by a broken or defective device. There are several procedures that might be done to save a woman’s life and preserve her fertility. These procedures include:
Who’s Liable for Paragard-related injuries?
In a perfect world, you would be able to trust that all medical interventions are safe, but this just isn’t the case. If you have suffered a Paragard-related injury, you may be able to sue the manufacturers of the device in a product liability lawsuit.
As a manufacturer of medical devices, a company can be held liable for damages if:
- Their product has a defect that causes a person harm or
- They don’t inform users of the known risks and dangers of their product.
Holding Negligent Parties Accountable
$150 million Bridge collapse
$56 million Military class action
$14.5 million Insurance bad faith
$5 million Forklift accident
$3.5 million Head-on-collision
$1.3 million Multiple vehicle wreck
This list is not a description or characterization of the quality of the ﬁrm’s representation and is in no way a guarantee of a speciﬁc result for your case. Every case is diﬀerent, and our South Carolina injury lawyers and the court will evaluate each case on its own merit.
Current Status of Paragard Lawsuits
The number of women filing lawsuits in response to injuries caused by the IUD is growing.
In September 2021, a multi-district litigation (MDL) was created that centralizes the cases to a single judge. The establishment of an MDL makes it possible for injured women and their attorneys to combine their efforts to investigate and litigate their claims involving the Paragard device.
“…many women with the device already in their bodies had no knowledge it could break upon removal.”
What Should You Do if you’ve suffered a Paragard IUD injury?
The first thing you’ll need to do is make sure that you take care of your health. In the event of an injury, you may need emergency intervention to reduce the potential of having long-term complications. You may also need ongoing medical care to address infections and injuries that occur from the use of Paragard.
When you seek medical treatment, make sure to keep any documentation that you receive regarding your care. Medical bills, receipts for over-the-counter purchases and prescriptions are all helpful documents that you can use to demonstrate the financial costs involved with your use of the Paragard device.
Once your health is stabilized, you’ll want to reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer who has experience handling class-action lawsuits to give you the best chance of recovering compensation for your injuries.
Chappell, Chappell and Newman is a law firm experienced in MDL products liability litigation. Attorney Graham L. Newman have represented numerous women in similar types of litigation, including the talcum powder/ovarian cancer litigation and the transvaginal mesh/bladder sling litigation.