PowerPort Litigation Updates
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decided to centralize all Bard PowerPort port and catheter cases within the District of Arizona under U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell. He will oversee the discovery process and preside over pretrial proceedings in the lawsuits.
What is the PowerPort Implantable Port and Catheter System?
The PowerPort is one of several different implantable-port-catheter devices that is designed and sold to the public. The first report of a fully implantable vascular access device (or IVAD) was made here in Houston at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in 1982. Since then, the use of these devices has grown exponentially. An IVAD is a small device consisting of a reservoir port placed in the subcutaneous tissue layer of the skin and positioned below the collarbone. This reservoir port is connected to a catheter that goes into a large vein just above a patient’s heart.
The PowerPort device, which is about the size of a quarter, is implanted under general anesthesia and is assisted with the help of an x-ray device to make sure it is placed in the correct location. The reservoir port has a raised center, or “septum,” where the needle is inserted for medication delivery. The device’s catheter is a polymeric mixture of silicone or polyurethane and barium sulfate, a radiopaque compound that is visible in certain radiologic studies. After a surgeon implants the device within a patient, the wound is then covered with gauze and clear tape for 3 days.
IVAD’s like the PowerPort device make it easier to give patients intravenous (IV) medications, cancer treatments (like chemotherapy) and collect blood samples. Before a medication is given, the port area is supposed to be cleaned and lidocaine is placed to numb the area. A specially trained nurse will then use a special needle called a “gripper” or “Huber.” The needle is then inserted through the skin into the rubber part of the port. The medication or fluid then flows through the needle into the port, through the catheter, and directly into the patient’s bloodstream. Although nonimplanted, long-term catheters can be used for the same purpose, the lack of external components in IVAD ports provides multiple advantages. Patients with IVADs have less maintenance to worry about and less limitations in their mobility, which can cause an improved perception of their quality of life.
What are the Issues Associated with the PowerPort Implantable Device?
IVAD devices can be used for weeks, months, or even years after implantation. The device needs to be thoroughly wiped and cleaned before any injections. In addition, the catheter component needs to be thoroughly flushed every 4 weeks to maintain cleanliness. The catheter component of the device is made from a mixture containing polyurethane and barium sulfate. Over time, the improper mixing of raw silicone or polyurethane with barium sulfate particles can cause pockets of barium sulfate and entrapped air throughout the catheter body and surface, which weakens the catheter’s mechanical integrity and creates a rough catheter surface. This can cause the catheter to crack or break, possibly sending fragments into the heart or elsewhere. Other problems that would arise include catheter migration, fracturing, catheter disconnection, perforation, necrosis of tissues or malposition. These types of complications occur in up to 18% of patients and require a complete removal of the device. The cost of removing the PowerPort device would be similar to the cost of implantation, which is a little over $10,000 without insurance, unless in the case of a fracture, then it would cost more.
|Tissue Related Damages
|Blood Related Issues
Perforations of Tissue
Heart Attack / Stroke
Lawsuits Against Bard's Powerport Device
Patients who experienced one of the injuries listed above are filing lawsuits against C.R. Bard Inc. for not making design adjustments to their PowerPort device and for being aware it had a substantially higher failure rate than other similar products on the market. Rather than alter the design of the port device to make it safer or adequately warn patients and physicians of the device’s dangers, Bard continued to aggressively market their device as safe and effective, despite their knowledge of numerous reports of serious complications and injuries. If you have been injured by Bard’s PowerPort implant device, you may be eligible to pursue a lawsuit. A settlement from that case can help cover the costs of any doctor appointments, hospital stays, other medical expenses, as well as lost wages and enduring pain and suffering.
Have You Been Injuried By a Powerport Device?
At Fleming, Nolen & Jez, our product liability lawyers have dedicated their careers to fighting for the rights of injured victims throughout the United States. If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury from a Bard PowerPort implantable port and catheter device, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit to secure the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to speak with a member of our legal team to review your case information.