The Paragard intrauterine device (IUD) has long been favored by women seeking a reliable, long-acting reversible contraception option. However, in recent years, a concerning trend has emerged as over 1,700 lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers of Paragard IUDs.
These lawsuits allege that the device has led to severe complications, and some women argue that the manufacturer failed to provide sufficient warnings about these potential risks.
In this article, we will delve into the factors that led to the Paragard IUD lawsuit, examining the alleged complications, the role of the manufacturer, and the legal implications surrounding the controversy.
Understanding the Paragard IUD
The Paragard IUD is a hormone-free T- shaped contraceptive device made of copper that is inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. Its copper components create an inhospitable environment for sperm, thereby preventing fertilization. The device is intended to be long-lasting and can provide contraception for up to 10 years.
A significant number of women who used the Paragard IUD have reported experiencing severe complications. The allegations in the lawsuits include:
Some women have made claims that while undergoing Paragard IUD removal, the device broke, leading to pain, injuries, and necessitating surgical intervention. The Paragard lawsuit specifically alleges that these injuries occurred during attempts to remove the device.
According to information provided on Cooper Surgical’s website, the removal procedure is typically a nonsurgical process performed by a healthcare provider during a routine office visit. The instructions for removal state that the IUD’s arms should fold up as it is taken out.
However, the women involved in the legal action assert that the Paragard IUD fractured during the removal process, resulting in fragments remaining inside their bodies.
Consequently, a number of women required surgical procedures to extract the broken pieces and address associated complications.
Migration and Embedding
TorHoerman Law notes that instances have been reported where the Paragard IUD, instead of remaining in its intended position, has migrated within the body and become embedded in the uterine wall or other organs.
This occurrence can result in significant complications, including potential damage to affected organs and even infertility. When the device embeds itself in the uterine wall or other tissues, it can cause severe pain, inflammation, and potential infections.
The presence of the IUD in unintended areas can disrupt normal organ function and lead to long-term consequences for a person’s reproductive health.
While the overall rate of uterine perforation associated with copper IUDs is relatively low, estimated at approximately 1.6 per 1000 insertions, there have been cases where the Paragard IUD allegedly caused uterine perforation.
These incidents have been reported to occur during the insertion process, removal, or even while the device is in place. Uterine perforation can result in internal injuries, including damage to surrounding organs or tissues.
Additionally, it may lead to complications such as infections and increased risks of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Pain and Discomfort
Numerous women have come forward to report persistent pain, cramping, and discomfort associated with the use of the Paragard IUD, significantly impacting their overall quality of life. These symptoms, which can range from mild to severe, often occur beyond the initial insertion period and persist throughout the duration of device use.
The pain and cramping may be more intense during menstruation or sexual intercourse, further exacerbating the physical and emotional distress experienced by affected individuals.
The Role of the Manufacturer
The Paragard IUD is manufactured by CooperSurgical, a subsidiary of The Cooper Companies. The lawsuits claim that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn both patients and healthcare providers about the risks associated with the device. Plaintiffs argue that they were not properly informed about the potential complications, leaving them unaware of the potential harm they could face.
Legal Implications and Current Status
The Paragard IUD lawsuit originated when Georgia Bowers filed a legal claim against Teva and Cooper Surgical, the manufacturers of the contraceptive device, in September 2020.
Bowers received her Paragard IUD in January 2017 and later sought its removal in September 2017. However, an ultrasound revealed that the IUD was incorrectly positioned. During the removal procedure, only a portion of the IUD was successfully retrieved, with one arm missing. Despite attempts to remove the broken piece via colposcopy, it proved unsuccessful.
Bowers’ lawsuit alleges that the manufacturers, referred to as Teva Defendants, were aware of the heightened risk of adverse events, such as arm breakage, associated with the Paragard IUD.
Nonetheless, they continued to produce, market, distribute, sell, and profit from the device. Currently, the Paragard IUD lawsuits have consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the United States.
The MDL process facilitates streamlined proceedings, discovery, and potentially, settlement negotiations. Plaintiffs in these lawsuits are seeking compensation for various damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. The outcomes of these lawsuits will be influenced by factors such as the presented evidence and court decisions.
CooperSurgical maintains its stance that the Paragard IUD is safe and effective when used as directed and intends to mount a defense against the allegations made in the lawsuits.
The Paragard IUD lawsuits shed light on the alleged complications associated with the device and raise questions about the responsibility of the manufacturer to adequately inform patients and healthcare providers about potential risks.
As the legal proceedings progress, it remains essential for women who have used or are considering the Paragard IUD to stay informed about the developments in the lawsuits and consult with healthcare professionals regarding their contraceptive options.