Implanted Port Catheter Lawsuit
An implanted port catheter (also known as a “port” or “port-a-cath”) is a device that is used to draw blood, provide intravenous fluids, blood transfusions, or other drugs like chemotherapy. The totally implantable venous access device is placed under the skin, usually in the right side of the chest. The port is then attached to a catheter (a thin, flexible tube made of silicone), which is weaved into a vein (the superior vena cava) above the heart. A needle then can be inserted into the port for certain treatments where medicines and nutrients can be delivered to the blood vessels. The implanted ports can stay there for weeks, months, or even years.
The port catheter offers a number of advantages–the main one being that it protects your veins from constantly being accessed. In other words, it helps prevent some of the discomfort and pain that often accompanies punctures that otherwise have to be made to deliver medicine and nutrients. Because it is subcutaneous, it can make certain things easier for patients such as: collecting blood samples, administering IV fluids and nutrition, and other medications that may need to be administered intravenously.
The catheters are often used to treat cancer patients, oncology patients, and hematology patients.
Port catheters have become widely used since they were first introduced in 1992. Approximately 5 million of these medical devices are implanted each year in the United States. One entity manufactures about 80% of these port catheters–Beckton Dickinson and Company and its subsidiaries C.R. Bard. Inc. and Bard Access Systems Inc. Other device manufacturers include AngioDynamics and Smiths Medical.
Bard powerports have had some incidences of complications and these medical devices have been responsible for some serious illnesses and diseases. In 2022 there were 1336 reports of defective port-a-cath products causing harm or death in patients who received the device.
If you think that you or a loved one have suffered injuries as a result of these implanted ports, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at the Rothenberg Law Firm LLP for a free case evaluation. Our experienced lawyers have over five decades of experience handling product liability, personal injury, and wrongful death cases.
Other Names for Port Catheter
What can make understanding if you have a case is identifying the item that might be responsible for your injury. Specifically, we’ve mentioned how port catheters can be known as a port-a-cath or an implanted port device. Other names for the same device include:
- Central venous access devices
- Central venous port systems
- Central venous system,
- Implantable venous access ports
- Implantable venous access system
- Subcutaneous central venous catheters
- Subcutaneous central venous ports
- Totally implantable venous access device
- Venous port system
- Rapid central venous access
Defects That Might Develop With a Port Catheter Device
Over the past few years, the FDA has received thousands of reports about defective port catheters.
Device manufacturers produce port catheters with barium sulfate. This substance can with time cause a serious degradation of the catheter. Barium sulfate particles can begin to separate which does significant damage to the integrity of the device. The port will begin to fracture or migrate which can result in serious damage to cardiovascular and pulmonary tissue. Not surprisingly, with foreign agents such as these, infection will often occur. If not dealt with by medical professionals, infections can lead to serious illness and can be even life-threatening. Risk of infection is one of the major concerns with a defective port catheter.
Catheter migration is one of those things that may happen with these devices. Catheter migration occurs when a catheter becomes dislodged from the port without fracturing. This can be a serious event and may lead to certain conditions like thrombosis.
Personal injury and product liability cases involving these devices can be extremely complicated to pursue. We strongly suggest that if you think you or a loved one have been the victim of a defective implanted port catheter to contact the lawyers at the Rothenberg Law Firm LLP.
Risks Of Using These Catheters
Unfortunately, it seems that port-a-caths are highly susceptible to certain defects which put those who have them at substantial risk of serious injuries.
A 10-year retrospective study published in 2022 reported that nearly 20% of patients suffered from catheter-related complications. Some of these common complications included: pneumothorax, catheter dislocation (including fracture), catheter-related thrombosis, catheter-associated bacteremia, and other serious infections and even sepsis.
If one suspects that he or a loved one might be ill or injured from his Bard powerport, he should immediately seek out healthcare professionals for treatment. Sources indicate that in the event of a port catheter defect, complications can usually be dealt with if they are addressed “immediately and properly.”
Port Catheters and Infections
The Bard powerport can easily lead to infection. While an infection could be caused by any number of things, it is often found that the degradation of a medical device such as a port catheter can lead to serious infection. When a port-a-cath starts to fracture or migrate, it allows for bacteria to easily build up.
While we might not take most infections seriously, an infection brought on by a defective port catheter can be life-threatening if it becomes septic. Sepsis is when the body improperly responds to an infection. The biological mechanisms used to fight the infection turn on the body itself. As sepsis worsens, vital organs may cease to function as they should because they do not get the blood they require to function. With this risk of sepsis, the risk of infection goes up given the potential for serious injury.
There can be blood clotting as a result of a defective catheter as well. Once the implanted port begins to break loose and enter the blood, the foreign agents will agitate the veins which can lead to blood clots. If left untreated, these clots can spread to other organs causing even more damage. Another word you may come across to describe blood clots is thrombosis. There are two types of thrombosis: venous thrombosis and arterial thrombosis. Indeed, the scientific literature confirms that thrombosis brought on by a Bard powerport while not so common, if it does occur, has the potential to cause serious injury and illness.
A pulmonary embolism is a sudden blockage in your pulmonary arteries, the blood vessels that send blood to your lungs. In the event that a Bard implanted device causes a blood clot in your upper body–that implanted port device may cause what is known as a deep vein thrombosis, which could lead to a pulmonary embolism.
It is important to be aware of the fact that a pulmonary embolism could form from a defective port catheter. Symptoms include coughing, dizziness, heart palpitations, sharp and sudden chest pain, and shortness of breath.
A pneumothorax is a collapsed lung. This occurs when air leaks into the space between your lung and chest wall. The air then begins to push on the outside of your lung and make it collapse. A defective port catheter may lead to pneumothorax.
A cardiac arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat. An arrhythmia brought on by a defective port catheter could indicate a serious medical condition.
A hematoma is a collection of blood outside of the blood vessels. They are usually caused by an injury to the wall of a blood vessel. Blood then can begin to seep out of the blood vessel and into surrounding tissue. Note that a hematoma and a hemorrhage are two different things. A hematoma typically refers to bleeding which has pretty much clotted, whereas a hemorrhage means that there is still ongoing bleeding.
Consulting a Product Liability Lawyer at an experienced Law Firm
If you think you or someone you know has suffered an injury due to a dangerous or defective product, contact the defective product lawyers at The Rothenberg Law Firm LLP at 1-800-624-8888 or submit an InjuryLawyer.com online free case evaluation. There is NO CHARGE for the initial consultation with a product liability attorney. If we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis. This means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds.
In many cases, a product liability lawsuit has to be filed before an impending expiration date, known as the Statute of Limitations. It is critical, therefore, to please call our product liability law firm right away to ensure you are not waiving your rights to possible compensation.
It is impossible to make generalizations about the value of any product liability case without knowing the details of the injuries and the manner in which the accident took place. Depending on the situation, there may be a lawsuit for your case based on negligence, strict liability or breach of warranty. The law allows recovery for a wide range of situations, many of which may not be readily apparent to the injured party. This includes past medical bills, future medical and rehabilitation costs, therapy, lost past wages, lost future income, pain and suffering, and more. An experienced personal injury attorney will fight to obtain money for you to compensate you for all of your damages, past, and future.