Port Catheter Lawsuit: Truth Behind the Emerging Legal Battlefront

by | May 23, 2023 | Product Liability, Medical Devices | 0 comments

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Are you caught up in the entanglement of a port catheter lawsuit? Or maybe you’re just trying to figure out what this litigation trend is all about? Anyway, welcome to your ultimate roadmap through the intricate tangle of port catheter lawsuits.

Whether you’re a patient turned reluctant plaintiff, a worried family member, a curious onlooker, or even a law professional seeking to broaden your knowledge, this blog is for you. Enter our knowledge of the ‘courtroom’ as we turn the complex into the understandable.

What Is a Port Catheter?

An implanted port device is often known as a port catheter or port-a-cath. A port-a-cath is often inserted under the skin of the chest. A small reservoir known as a port is connected to a thin catheter. To make it simple to put the drug into the catheter, a part of the catheter could remain outside your body. Injectable fluids, blood transfusions, chemotherapy, and other medications are administered through a port-a-cath.

When you are not receiving therapy, the catheter is clamped or sealed to keep it shut. Blood samples may also be collected through it. A port-a-cath can be left in place for a long time, lessening the need for frequent needle pricks.

port-catheter-lawsuit-picture-showing-port-catheter-insertion

Common Manufacturers of Port Catheter Devices

  • Bard
  • Smiths Medical
  • Teleflex
  • Angiodynamics/Navilyst

Major Problems with Implanted Ports

One in three people experience issues with their implanted ports. The issues include:

Port Catheter Breakage

In some circumstances, the catheter itself may separate or migrate to other body areas, which can lead to major difficulties. Flex fatigue occurs when a catheter loses its strength through repeated bending, which leads to the device deteriorating and breaking. If shattered fragments of the catheter enter the heart, immediate cardiac surgery may be necessary to remove the shards.

Additionally, this increases the chance of pulmonary embolism, a blockage of the lung arteries, and vascular damage. If you were hurt due to a damaged catheter, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately.

Port Catheter Migration

When a catheter slips out of the port without breaking, it is known as catheter migration. A catheter can spread to other body areas when it comes loose, but it is typically simpler to remove when it is still intact and less dangerous. Migration can happen on its own or in conjunction with a catheter fracture.

Catheter migration can become problematic in elderly or more delicate patients. Pain in the neck, shoulders, and ears are common signs of catheter migration. Additionally, neurological problems, venous phlebitis, and thrombosis could be potentially fatal when using the catheter to provide medication.

Risk of Infection

Some port catheter materials have flaws that can penetrate bacteria and other diseases through the catheter over time as its durability declines. This results in catastrophic consequences since port-a-caths are routinely put in patients who are already immunocompromised, such as those with cancer and other health conditions.

Numerous factors might cause infections; however, most infections are easily treated with medications. However, sometimes bacterial growth is facilitated by device deterioration, which results from breakage in the catheter. These situations are frequently more serious, and the device might need to be taken out.

Injuries Associated with Port Catheter

Can catheter cause damage? Catheter failure can result in serious injuries. Some include:

  • Hemorrhage
  • Hematoma
  • Blood clots
  • Severe and persistent pain
  • Cardiac Arrhythmia
  • Perforations of tissues, vessels and organs
  • Pulmonary Embolism
  • Infection
  • Cardiac / pericardial tamponade
  • Necrosis
  • Death

Bard PowerPort

A producer of medical equipment, Bard, is under investigation for its catheter products, including the Bard PowerPort and Bard SlimPort. These catheter devices were made to endure strong injection pressure to simplify providing fluids to patients who need fast injections.

The Bard PowerPort was given FDA approval in 2000 as a port catheter device inserted under the skin to offer long-term and simple access to attach a catheter.

Port Catheter Lawsuits

Patients with PowerPort devices may be more likely to experience major problems or suffer harm as a result of a catheter failure. Here you can see some of the victims:

Patrice Terry

A woman named Patrice Terry, from Missouri, sued the maker of the Bard PowerPort ClearVue Implantable Port after she was injured as a result of it.

She underwent colon cancer treatment and had a single-lumen Bard PowerPort inserted in March 2022.

On April 17, 2022, she complained of neck pain and swelling and was sent to the hospital. Medical professionals performed a CT scan, and they discovered troubling signs of thrombosis (blood clots). Doctors also observed that her Bard PowerPort was ineffective during this time.

She blames the maker of the PowerPort for failing to appropriately inform patients and medical professionals about the danger of blood clots connected to the PowerPort.

According to her lawsuit, manufacturing mistakes made when developing the catheter for the PowerPort have led to an irregular catheter surface replete with fissures, pits, and cracks.

The complaint asserts that the catheter’s rough surface significantly increases the risk of blood clots and thromboembolisms.

On February 10, 2023, she filed a case in the Western District of Missouri U.S. District Court against Beckton, Dickinson, and Company and C.R. Bard, Inc.

Vincent Anderson

On May 9, 2023, Vincent Anderson from Missouri filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. The lawsuit claims that the Bard PowerPort catheter device was improperly built and led to the development of a serious fungal infection.

In order to receive chemotherapy injections to cure Anderson’s urothelial cancer, he allegedly had the Bard port inserted into his right internal jugular vein in March 2020. But because the PowerPort had contracted a fungemia infection in December 2021, he had to be readmitted to the hospital.

The lawsuit claims that the danger of infections, deep vein thrombosis, and other problems have increased since the catheter tube is prone to cracking and breaking.

Mary Nelk

On February 28, Mary Nelk from Missouri filed a complaint against the manufacturer of the Bard PowerPort ClearVue Implantable Port.

In February 2021, Nelk allegedly had the device implanted in her right internal jugular vein so she could receive Crohn’s disease-related nutritional therapies. Only a few days later, she needed to visit the hospital due to arm pain, hematoma, and fever. Doctors identified her bloodstream infection and learned that the Bard Powerport was no longer working.

Chronoflex, a polyurethane and barium sulfate blend, is a flexible polyurethane polymer used to make catheter tubes.

Nelk claims in the lawsuit that barium sulfate is known to induce microfractures, deterioration, fissuring, and cracking in polyurethane by weakening the material’s mechanical integrity. According to the lawsuit, Chronoflex production issues caused high amounts of barium sulfate, which exacerbated the issue.

According to Nelk’s lawsuit, “Defendants continued to market the PowerPort as secure, despite their knowledge of numerous reports of thromboembolism and other serious injuries,” rather than altering the design of the PowerPort to make it safer or adequately warning physicians of the dangers associated with it.

Jean Cunningham

On April 24, 2023, Jean Cunningham, from Missouri, filed a lawsuit against Bard PowerPort, claiming that the implant was defectively designed and caused her severe injuries. As a result, she had additional surgeries to replace the catheter.

In October 2015, she implanted the Bard PowerPort to receive her multiple sclerosis medications. In May 2018, she was readmitted for chest pain and infection. The lawsuit alleges that she was left with permanent disabilities due to the fracture in the Bard PowerPort catheter.

She joins the emerging number of victims suing Bard PowerPort, claiming that the tube increases the risks of infections.

Plaintiffs in a variety of Bard PowerPort injury claims claim that the makers of the implanted port device knew or should have known about the high incidence of catheter fractures, migrations, and infections that were recorded among people using the device soon after it was released in 2000.

Recall of Port Catheter Devices

A recall of port catheter devices from multiple manufacturers has recently occurred.

Bard PowerPort Recall 2021

Bard announced a Class II recall in March 2021 for their Bard PowerPort catheters due to the risk of catheter malfunction. When Bard PowerPort catheters are used in operations, there have been reports of severe injuries, including vascular damage and discomfort.

Ports. Catheters “may experience difficulty in flushing, infusion and/or aspiration, and septum dislodges,” according to the notice.

Flex fatigue led to injuries and the device’s degradation, fracture, and migration. Following additional demands from victims of device failure, the recall was finally issued.

Penumbra Jet 7 Catheter Recall

Penumbra, Inc. urgently and voluntarily recalled all JET 7 Reperfusion Catheters with Xtra Flex configurations on December 15, 2020. According to the recall, the catheter could deteriorate and was linked to more than 200 cases of significant injuries and fatalities. Hemorrhage, vascular damage, and cerebral infarction have all been reported by customers.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advised all consumers to stop using the recalled products immediately and remove them from their inventories in alerts sent to healthcare professionals on the same day.

 Arrow MAC Venous Catheter Kit Recall 

Federal safety investigators have issued an Arrow MAC Venous Catheter Kit recall after Teleflex and their subsidiary Arrow International, LLC discovered a design flaw that might result in the catheter connections leaking, posing a number of serious and perhaps fatal health risks to patients.

The FDA has given the recall a Class I classification, meaning it is the most dangerous of its kind and that using the product has a high risk of serious injury or death due to the seriousness of the potential adverse health effects.

Vital-Port Vascular Access Systems Recall

Cook Medical, a medical device manufacturing company, issued a Class II recall notice for the Vital-Port Vascular Access Systems in March 2018. The company issued a recall after discovering that 31,000 Vital-Port Vascular Access Systems could spill drugs or cause serious injury.

Who is Responsible for the Failure of Port Catheter?

Medical equipment must be produced to a high standard at all times. Catheter failure frequently occurs as a result of the implanted port device manufacturer’s negligence. They should put safety precautions in place, such as strengthening devices to stop deterioration and ensure their devices are properly evaluated.

Due to faulty products, consumers are suffering more and more port-a-cath injuries. If the maker didn’t take precautions to improve the quality of the catheter, they should be held completely responsible for any difficulties and injuries that occurred as a result.

People who needed additional port catheter surgery or were hurt by a faulty catheter device have filed port catheter lawsuits. In these port catheter lawsuits, the manufacturers are charged with marketing hazardous medical devices, failing to inform doctors of the high failure rates, and postponing life-saving recalls.

You may be entitled to compensation in a product liability claim if it can be proven that the maker of a medical device was negligent and that this carelessness contributed to your injury. Medical records serve as an important piece of evidence in court.

When you file a port catheter injury case, you may anticipate economic and non-economic losses to be compensated. Economic losses also include costs like medical expenses and lost wages. Non-economic losses are meant to cover up for the emotional distress and bodily pain experienced by personal injury sufferers.

By reviewing the medical records, an expert can help calculate the costs associated with the injury. This can include medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost income, and even non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.

To wind up,

As you continue your navigation through this intricate world of litigation, never lose sight of the bigger picture—your right to safety and quality care.

We hope this blog has provided clarity, answered some questions, and provoked new ones. After all, every question is a stepping stone to further knowledge. So, as you close this tab, remember you’re not just a reader; you’re an empowered individual on a path to understanding, advocacy, and change.

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