Common Injuries Associated with Bard PowerPort Complications

Common Injuries Associated with Bard PowerPort Complications

The Food and Drug Administration approved the first of Bard Access Systems’ port-a-cath devices in 2000. The PowerPorts facilitate the delivery of medications and fluids to those receiving treatment for chronic illnesses, removing the need for constant injections. 

However, Bard PowerPorts are prone to various complications which could result in the fragmentation, internal migration, and splintering of the devices. Alongside their parent company, Becton, Dickinson and Company, Bard Access Systems and C.R. Bard, Inc. intentionally withheld information about these complications and exposed users to serious injuries.

As users begin to file product liability claims against the reckless cohort of medical device manufacturers, we are closely following crucial developments in the Bard implanted port catheter lawsuits and multidistrict litigation in Arizona federal court. 

What Are Bard PowerPort Devices? 

Bard PowerPorts are a group of medical devices that provide immediate access to the vascular system for the delivery of intravenous fluids, parenteral nutrition solutions, and medications. The structure of the devices includes a surgically implanted injection port (septum) and a catheter which is inserted into a blood vessel. 

In patients receiving treatment for chronic illnesses like cancer, the Bard PowerPorts enable doctors to deliver life-saving chemicals or more easily take blood samples. After initial FDA approval in 2000, Bard produced various analogous devices to capitalize on market demand, including: 

  • Bard Power-Injectable Implantable Ports
  • PowerPort Implantable Port
  • PowerPort Clearvue Slim Implantable Port
  • Power-Injectable Implantable Ports, Chronoflex Polyurethane Catheters

Device Complications in Bard Port-A-Cath Series

The surgically implanted Bard PowerPort catheter is prone to a series of complications connected to an unstable mixture of polyurethane and barium sulfate. Over time, the barium sulfate can dissociate from the catheter and compromise the structural integrity of the device. 

In more severe cases, the gradual degradation of the PowerPort catheter can result in micro fissures and fractures, causing the device to fragment or migrate within a user’s body. Bard Access Systems, C.R. Bard, Inc. and Becton, Dickinson and Company knew of these risks and their ensuant complications but routinely failed to warn physicians or patients. As a result, the companies are facing potentially hundreds of Bard PowerPort lawsuits from uninformed users. 

Injuries Linked to Defective Bard PowerPorts

Users of Bard PowerPorts were already contending with severe and potentially life-threatening conditions before receiving the port-a-cath. Unfortunately, the preceding complications associated with the defective medical devices can expose them to additional health emergencies, including: 

Bard Powerport Deep Vein Thrombosis 

The fragmentation of Bard PowerPort catheters can result in various kinds of blood clots which pose serious risks to user health. Deep vein thrombosis is a consequence of a blood clot that impinges or blocks entirely a larger vein in the body and commonly originates in the leg. 

Common symptoms of DVT linked to Bard PowerPorts include: 

  • Leg swelling and pain 
  • Discoloration in the affected leg
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or discomfort

Bard Powerport Pulmonary Embolism 

If left untreated, Deep Vein Thrombosis can cause a litany of additional complications, one of the most severe of which is pulmonary embolism. The potentially life-threatening injury occurs when a blood clot blocks the arteries in the lungs, and may result from a dislodged blockage that originates elsewhere in the body. 

Bard PowerPort users have allegedly experienced pulmonary emboli, whose symptoms include:

  • Coughing up bloody mucus
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain 
  • Dizziness

It is imperative that Bard PowerPort users who present with symptoms of a pulmonary embolism seek immediate medical treatment. Without appropriate and expeditious care, a serious pulmonary embolism has the potential to result in life-threatening cardiac arrest, pulmonary hypertension, and pulmonary infarction. 

Bard Powerport Hemothorax and Pneumothorax

Additional pulmonary complications connected to Bard PowerPort devices include hemothorax and pneumothorax. The former occurs whenever a buildup of blood occupies the space between the lungs and the rib cage and the latter develops when excess air around the lungs prohibits their expansion. Both cause serious breathing difficulties and require immediate medical intervention. 

The fragmentation of Bard PowerPort catheters is known to cause internal lacerations to blood vessels which may contribute to hemothorax, whose symptoms include

  • Shortness of breath
  • Hyperventilation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Chest pain 

Pneumothorax in Bard PowerPort users typically results in: 

  • Sharp chest pain 
  • Tightness in chest
  • Rapid Heart rate
  • Shortness of breath

Bard Powerport Bloodstream Infections

With the fragmentation of Bard PowerPort devices, users may be exposed to harmful bacteria and fungi which can cause various bloodstream infections. In the absence of appropriate medical treatment, bloodstream infections can result in various other illnesses such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections (UTIs), or endocarditis. 

More severe cases of sepsis have the potential to cause: 

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fever and chills
  • Low body temperature
  • Abdominal complications
  • Fatigue 

Bard Powerport Cardiac or Pericardial Tamponade

Bard PowerPort devices can pose serious risks to heart health, particularly in those who are predisposed to cardiac complications. A common injury connected to these defective medical devices is cardiac or pericardial tamponade, which refers to a buildup of fluids in the fibrous sac surrounding the heart (pericardium). 

The condition places unhealthy pressure on the heart, impeding its ability to pump normally. Common symptoms of pericardial tamponade include: 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased heart rate
  • Rapid breathing 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Chest pain 

Bard Powerport Myocardial Infarction 

Myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) occur when blood flow to cardiac tissues ceases partially or entirely, drastically reducing crucial oxygen levels. The acute medical emergency commonly arises from arterial blockages and can result in the death of heart tissue. 

Heart attacks can be fatal without immediate treatment and typically manifest in: 

  • Chest pain 
  • Pain in the left shoulder
  • Cold sweat
  • Heartburn 
  • Shortness of breath

Bard Powerport Tachycardia

Tachycardia occurs when an individual’s heart rate surpasses 100 beats per minute and can cause severe heart damage or induce heart failure. Although there are multiple types of tachycardia, nearly all drastically reduce blood flow and oxygen to other organs and tissues in the body. 

Some individuals experiencing tachycardia may not present with any signs, but telltale symptoms of the condition include: 

  • Heart palpitations 
  • Chest pain 
  • Rapid pulse
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness

Bard Powerport Strokes (Hemorrhagic and Ischemic)

Strokes are one of the most lethal medical emergencies in the United States and occur when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain ruptures (hemorrhagic) or is blocked (ischemic). The subsequent damage to brain cells can result in tissue death, disabilities, and lifelong complications. 

The Centers for Disease Control recommend that bystanders use the so-called FACE test to determine whether an individual is having a stroke, whose symptoms include: 

  • Numbness in one side of the body
  • Difficulty speaking or seeing
  • Confusion or disorientation 
  • Dizziness or trouble walking 
  • Intense headache

Case Study of Bard PowerPort Injuries 

A Chicago resident and PowerPort user recently filed an official complaint against Bard and Becton Dickinson and Company, in order to seek compensation for various surgeries she underwent to remove a catheter fragment lodged in her right atrium. The patient had received the device to facilitate her chemotherapy for breast cancer. 

Upon detecting the presence of the fragment, the plaintiff’s surgeons attempted to extract the chest port. During the surgery, she experienced several episodes of ventricular tachycardia, which prevented the extraction of the device. 

She was later diagnosed with an arterial blockage (embolus), which caused her immense discomfort and pain and required a subsequent surgery several days later. After nearly a week of suffering and procedures, physicians finally removed the device and the catheter embedded within her heart. 

Liability in Bard Implanted Port Catheter Lawsuits

Becton, Dickinson and Company, C.R. Bard Incorporated, and Bard Access Systems Incorporated owed PowerPort users a duty of care. However, they failed to warn users of the risks associated with the devices, which directly contributed to or caused their injuries. 

In an attempt to abjure liability, the prominent companies have repeatedly accused physicians of incorrectly installing the devices. However, after the disclosure of a secretive FDA database that housed adverse event reports (AERs) submitted by the manufacturers, consumers and physicians alike realized the extent to which Bard had withheld information about the risks inherent in the use of the PowerPorts. 

Bard PowerPort Multidistrict Litigation

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) accepts petitions from plaintiffs advancing mass tort claims to consolidate their cases for pretrial proceedings. The establishment of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) enables the federal court system to streamline the resolution of sweeping lawsuits which allege similar claims against a group of common defendants. 

In August 2023, the JPML accepted plaintiffs’ request to establish a Bard PowerPort MDL, which it subsequently transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. On November 16, the presiding magistrate, David G. Campbell, approved a Master and Short-Form Complaint. The documents facilitate the enrollment of novel claims and alleviate those seeking entrance of burdensome procedural requirements. 

Common Damages in Bard PowerPort Lawsuits

The injuries connected to Bard PowerPorts are severe, life-altering, and life-threatening. They may require affected users to seek extensive and expensive medical treatment, resulting in considerable financial strain and emotional distress. 

Fortunately, these injuries and losses may be compensable in a court of law. If you received a Bard PowerPort device and subsequently developed a serious medical condition, you may be entitled to economic and non-economic damages, such as: 

  • Medical costs – past, present, and future
  • Lost wages and income
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Decreased quality of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium 
  • Wrongful death

There are a variety of online services that claim to offer immediate compensation estimates. However, they fail to conduct scrupulous assessments and may provide inaccurate information. The best way to determine the financial assistance you may be entitled to is to speak with a qualified Bard PowerPort lawyer as soon as possible. 

Contact an Experienced Product Liability Lawyer for your Defective Bard Port Catheter Lawsuit

The recklessness and irresponsibility of Becton, Dickinson and Company and its subsidiaries directly resulted in extensive injuries amongst uninformed users. As the companies prepare to evade liability for their defective Bard Powerport catheters, we are prepared to hold them accountable. 

In a free consultation, our experienced Bard PowerPort lawyers can explain your rights, assess the eligibility of your claim, and calculate the compensation to which you may be entitled. We have over 120 combined years of personal injury law experience and possess extensive familiarity with the complexities of enrolling and participating in MDLs. 

In addition, we work on a contingency-fee basis, which means you don’t pay unless we successfully attain compensation for you. 

For more information and to schedule a free consultation on your Bard Powerport case, contact us today. 


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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