Numerous patients who received blood, medication, and fluids through defective Bard port catheters are pursuing product liability lawsuits against Bard Access Systems, a subsidiary of Becton, Dickinson and Company. Plaintiffs say that the device, which is implanted to allow providers easier access to administer intravenous substances, has critical design flaws that cause it to deteriorate or migrate. As a result, patients have sustained life-threatening injuries.
The product liability lawsuits are an attempt to hold Bard and its parent company liable for their failure to warn patients and the medical community about the PowerPort’s propensity to cause injuries like blood clots and infections. With the help of personal injury lawyers, patients are seeking compensation for damages like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
How Bard PowerPort Catheters Are Used
Bard PowerPorts are catheter devices that are surgically implanted under the skin, usually in the arm or chest. The device is comprised of a port with one or two sealed basins and a catheter. The catheter tubing is inserted into a large central vein to allow the fluid to be pumped directly into the bloodstream, improving the way that the medication mixes in your system. The flawed catheter tubing is at the center of the Bard PowerPort product liability lawsuits.
A provider can use a Huber needle to reach the Bard PowerPort with minimal pain for the patient, as these non-coring needles are typically high gauge, meaning they have smaller diameters. They function as prolonged access sites for healthcare providers to administer everything from antibiotics to chemotherapy, as well as withdraw blood. This eliminates the need for constant large needle sticks each time a new fluid is given, reducing patient discomfort.
Patients who regularly receive intravenous medication often benefit from such a device. The Bard PowerPort also allows fluid to be transmitted at a higher rate. The power injection capability means that the device can also be used for Contrast-Enhanced Computed Tomography (CECT) scans. This is a type of CT scan where contrast, which functions like a dye, is injected and creates a distinction between different spots on the scan, allowing providers to better visualize problem areas.
Understanding What Makes Bard PowerPorts Defective
Bard PowerPorts appear to have a dangerous design flaw related to their polyurethane catheter tubing. The tubing needs to be semi-flexible in order to be curved into the blood vessel, but the combination of materials used to make it pliable has compromised its structural integrity. Bard PowerPort catheter tubing is partially made of barium sulfate, which acts as a contrast for X-rays, and polyurethane, a class of polymers commonly used in foam.
When improperly mixed or combined in the incorrect ratio, the barium sulfate can cause the polyurethane catheter to degrade. As the catheter deteriorates, it can fracture and splinter off, move from its original location, and develop pits that collect bacteria. In the case of Bard PowerPorts, plaintiffs allege that the level of barium sulfate used in the catheter tubing was too high.
The concentration of the barium sulfate meant that it was too dense to blend properly with the polyurethane materials. As a result, the barium sulfate was not evenly distributed when it was combined with the polyurethane, creating deposits and air pockets that weaken the tubing. This effectively made the Bard PowerPort catheter tubing brittle instead of flexible and therefore prone to breakage.
Injuries Associated With Defective Bard PowerPorts
Patients with defective Bard PowerPort catheter implants have reported a number of severe and potentially life-threatening injuries related to the decomposition and migration of the devices. Most of the injuries pertain to cardiovascular damage caused by the flawed ports. One of the major risks is blood clots, which can travel to the heart, lungs, or brain. Thus far, Bard PowerPorts have been connected to:
- Deep Vein Thrombosis
- Vascular Damage
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Cardiac Punctures
- Cardiac or Pericardial tamponade
- Organ Damage
- Heart attack or myocardial infarction
- Hematoma or hemorrhage
- Pulmonary embolism
- Pulmonary pseudoaneurysm
Bard Powerport Defects Complicate Existing Health Conditions
Keep in mind that the patients who use Bard PowerPort catheters are usually already seriously ill, which means that a malfunctioning catheter tube can be even more dangerous to their health. For example, patients receiving chemotherapy typically have fragile immune systems, so if a defective PowerPort administering their treatment causes an infection, it can quickly become deadly.
If you suspect that there is an issue with your Bard PowerPort or experience signs of an injury from the device, do not hesitate to raise your concerns with your provider as soon as possible.
Delaying seeking medical care can be used against you in a personal injury claim by an insurance company trying to diminish your credibility or dismiss your claim. It could be seen as evidence that you waited to let your injury get worse or overstated the severity of your injury in the hope of increasing a potential settlement.
Bard Was Aware of Critical Issues With Their PowerPorts But Buried Evidence
Plaintiffs have accused Bard Access Systems of intentionally withholding information about the defective catheter tubing of the Bard PowerPorts. Healthcare providers noticed problems with the device after their patients began developing blood clots and infections that were traced back to the deteriorating catheter tubing of the ports. Many healthcare professionals did the responsible thing and informed Bard Access Systems and Becton Dickinson & Company.
These concerns have been repeatedly conveyed to Bard Access Systems as adverse event reports since Bard PowerPorts became available to the public, more than 20 years ago. Comparable products received considerably fewer complaints, reinforcing the perspective that Bard should have reasonably known that there was an issue with the catheter tubing of their PowerPorts.
How Bard Access Systems Evaded Accountability for Decades
Despite being notified of potentially harmful defects by physicians, Bard Access Systems exploited their special clearance to avoid publicizing these reports. The Bard PowerPort had received FDA approval to be marketed prior to the usual level of testing under the agency’s §510(k) provision, as the device was deemed similar enough to other FDA-approved products. This designation also allowed them to circumvent standard FDA reporting protocols that would have otherwise made the adverse event reports publicly accessible.
Instead of taking responsibility and issuing a recall, Bard Access Systems and its parent company Becton Dickinson & Company did not warn providers, continued to market and manufacture the defective PowerPorts, and inaccurately claimed that any fracturing of the catheter tubing was attributable to surgical error. Bard Access Systems’ conduct will likely be used against them to establish liability in the personal injury claims brought against them.
Patients Pursue Product Liability Lawsuits Against Bard For Failure to Warn and Design Issues
In order for a product liability lawsuit to be considered eligible for compensation, it must meet additional requirements beyond that of an average personal injury lawsuit. The injury caused by the harmful defect must be attributable to either a design issue, flawed manufacturing practices, negligent distribution, or the maker’s failure to warn the public about risks associated with the product. In the case of Bard PowerPorts, plaintiffs could potentially argue that Bard Access Systems was negligent based on multiple points.
Product Liability Basis For Filing a Bard Powerport Lawsuit
To begin with, the polyurethane catheter tubing was poorly conceptualized, as the ratio of the two key ingredients ultimately renders the product defective. The manufacturing process did not fix or compensate for this error, as the barium sulfate was allowed to clump instead of mix evenly with the polyurethane material, resulting in tubing inclined to break down. Finally, Bard Access Systems and Becton Dickinson & Company did not alert the medical community or consumers of the problems with their PowerPorts.
They have a legal responsibility to do so if they were aware, or should have been aware, of the trouble with their polyurethane catheter tubing, which Bard Access Systems absolutely was. When the maker of a faulty product fails to fulfill their duty of care to consumers by creating a dangerous product and concealing harmful defects, they can be held liable for compensating the damages of plaintiffs who were harmed by their malfunctioning medical device. The plaintiffs are currently in the process of seeking compensation in a Bard PowerPort multidistrict litigation.
Recovering Compensation for Damages in a Bard PowerPort Claim
When life-threatening injuries are involved in a product liability claim, the damages can be extensive. Bard PowerPort plaintiffs may suffer ongoing costs related to health issues resulting from a defective polyurethane tube, such as a serious infection, organ damage caused by a blood clot, or permanent disability from a stroke. Product liability lawsuits allow the injured party to seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages so that they are theoretically restored to their position before they were hurt by a defective medical device.
If your polyurethane catheter tubing fractured or caused your port to move, you likely received bills for additional treatment, took time away from work to receive medical care or recover, and incurred other unexpected expenses. These financial costs can add up, but they can also be compensated as economic damages. The intangible costs of your injuries, like stress and pain, can also be considered non-economic damages. Examples of damages in a Bard PowerPort lawsuit may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Cost of a new port
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Wrongful death
Why You Need a Bard Powerport Lawyer to Represent You
As someone with a Bard PowerPort, there’s a greater possibility that you were already navigating a serious health issue like cancer. With an additional injury caused by the defective PowerPort, it is unlikely that you have the time or capacity to effectively represent yourself in a product liability claim, especially given the degree of specialized knowledge required to successfully navigate the personal injury claims process.
Medical device companies are motivated to protect their profits and their reputation, and accepting fault in product liability lawsuits undermines both of these priorities. To safeguard their interests, companies like Bard Access Systems and Becton Dickinson & Company, as well as their insurance carrier, will utilize an expert legal team, and so should you. A personal injury attorney will be prepared for the administrative workload that accompanies this type of claim.
They will also be equipped to deal with procedural issues, secure and present evidence in a compelling manner, and provide the negotiating experience to recover the compensation you need.
Hiring a reputable product liability attorney to represent your case indicates to the defendant’s legal team that you are going to put in the effort to secure a settlement that accurately reflects your specific losses, rather than taking the first offer they present just to settle the case. You’re more likely to be taken seriously and receive a reasonable settlement with the help of a skilled personal injury lawyer.
Product Liability Lawyers Can Offer Critical Legal Assistance to Bard PowerPort Plaintiffs
Not all personal injury lawyers have experience negotiating defective medical device claims, but this is essential to ensuring that your claim is protected and fairly compensated. Our team represents clients seeking compensation for medical devices like metal-on-metal hip implants and CPAP breathing machines, so we are comfortable handling complex mass tort issues.
We can provide insightful, reliable legal advice on how to approach your Bard PowerPort lawsuit. As your defective medical device lawyers, we will work tirelessly to secure maximum compensation for your losses by demonstrating the defendant’s negligence, proving that they are liable, documenting your damages, and strategically advocating for a reasonable settlement.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer About Your Bard PowerPort Lawsuit
As a patient, you should be able to trust that your medical device is safe and effective, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. The flaw in Bard PowerPort catheter tubing has jeopardized the health and finances of numerous vulnerable patients over decades, and the manufacturer did not even issue a warning to alert the public to the risks.
We believe that when a company like Bard Access Systems prioritizes profits over patient safety, they should be held accountable for the harm they caused. Our team of accomplished medical device lawyers will leverage evidence to show that their negligence led to life-threatening injuries that unfairly burden sick patients with additional medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages like emotional distress. You don’t have to suffer the financial and emotional consequences of your Bard PowerPort injuries without fair compensation.
The Bard Powerport multidistrict litigation is quickly progressing, with plaintiffs’ attorneys recently proposing a leadership structure, so it is best to begin the process of filing your claim sooner rather than later. Our team of Bard Powerport lawyers can guide you through the personal injury claims process to secure a fair settlement. Call 866-535-9515 today or complete our simple online form for a free consultation with one of our expert personal injury lawyers.