You have seen a lot of commercials and have probably been searching the internet for some straightforward explanations about Paragard. Here is a simple guide to Paragard lawsuits and settlements in four easy steps:
- Step 1: Get Your Medical Records Confirming Your IUD Implant.
- Step 2: Identify Your Paragard IUD Implant.
- Step 3: Identify Your Related Injury.
- Step 4: Contact a Paragard Attorney.
STEP 1: Get Your Medical Records Confirming Your IUD Implant.
Unlike many other medical device claims, chances are that you have a really good idea which type and brand of birth control device you ultimately determined to use. You likely chose an intrauterin device (“IUD”) because they are marketed as readily available, easy to use, relatively inexpensive, and very effective birth control, which can be readily removed in the future. However, there are many different types of IUDs on the market – you have to confirm that your particular implant is encompassed within the ongoing litigations across the nation. Simply stated, if you believe you had a T-shaped copper IUD implanted in the United States, then you most likely have a Paragard IUD implant.
However, the first step in figuring out whether you have a potential Paragard claim is to confirm the specific make and model of the IUD that you had implanted. There is a simple way to do that. Whenever doctors use a medical implant or device, like an IUD, it comes in its own packaging (similar to a box of aspirin or new contact lenses). The box has stickers on it that specifically identify everything about the IUD (manufacturer, model, lot number, expiration date, etc.). The surgeon takes the sticker off of the box and pastes it onto your Operative Report. Consisting of only a few pages, your Operative Report is a basic summary of your IUD implant surgery. The stickers are usually attached to the last page. You can go to your medical provider and ask for your Operative Report (this should only take you a couple of days), or you can retain an attorney to formally request your Operative Report (this will take a few weeks).
Helpful hint: medical providers are only responsible for keeping records for a certain amount of time. If your IUD implant operation happened a relatively long time ago (longer than seven years), it will be much more difficult to get your Operative Report.
STEP 2: Identify Your Paragard IUD Implant.
Now that you have a copy of your Operative Report with the identifying stickers, you need to identify your IUD, in order to determine whether it is encompassed within the claims filed so far in litigations across the country alleging that Paragard IUDs are defective. Right now, these allegations are focused on the Copper T 380A models of Paragard IUDs. That model has been manufactured throughout the last several decades by a number of manufacturers, including the Cooper Companies, GynoPharma/GynoMed, Ortho-McNeil, FEI Women’s Health, Duramed Pharmaceuticals/Barr Pharmaceuticals, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. So, basically look at your Operative Report and find the stickers from the devices used in your surgery (there will likely be stickers for multiple products that were used in your surgery). Now find the sticker that lists the Paragard product, with a 380 model number.
Helpful hint: the stickers will obviously be photocopies, like the rest of the Operative Report, and sometimes the fine print and poor photocopying can make them difficult to read.
STEP 3: Identify Your Related Injury.
Now that you have identified your IUD implant as a Paragard IUD that is alleged to be defective in the pending nationwide litigations, you have to be able to show you suffered related injuries. As you no doubt know by now, the Paragard IUD, unlike many other IUDs on the market, works without the use of hormones. Paragard is basically a small plastic T-shaped implant that is covered with copper. The copper causes a chemical reaction in a woman’s body that does not allow for fertilization. However, recent lawsuits and studies claim that Paragard can cause serious complications and injuries. Specifically, it is alleged that the Paragard IUD can migrate or move through the body – becoming lodged or embedded in different parts of the body, such as the uterus.
Another dangerous alleged defect is that parts of the Paragard IUD can break off and cause perforation, or similar damage, to tissues and vital organs. This can both render the Paragard IUD irretrievable, as well as lead to serious invasive surgeries, including hysterectomy. Paragard is also claimed to be linked to ectopic pregnancies.
STEP 4: Contact a Paragard Attorney.
Now that you have determined that you have an allegedly defective qualifying Paragard IUD and a specifically related type of injury, you will want to get some legal advice. Two things to keep in mind:
- make sure to talk to a law firm that has extensive experience in Paragard IUD litigation; and
- do not wait – there are different deadlines and statutes of limitations and repose that apply to your claim.
Do your homework and research the firm you will be working with – there is a really good chance it will not be the same lawyer that handled your last speeding ticket, or the people answering the phone at the other end of one of the 800 numbers that flash across your television screen late at night. Put this on the top of your pile of things to do. Only bad things can happen if you wait too long to pursue a potential claim.
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