Port-a-Cath Lawsuits: Lawyers Handling Cases for Infections, Fractures and More
Last Updated on May 10, 2023
At A Glance
- This Alert Affects:
- Anyone who suffered complications from a port-a-cath, as well as family members acting on their behalf.
- What’s Going On?
- Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are looking to file lawsuits alleging certain port-a-caths were defectively designed and left patients vulnerable to catheter fracture, infection and other injuries. If you or a loved one was injured from an implanted chest or chemo port, you may be able to sue the manufacturer for medical bills and more.
- What You Can Do
- If you want to learn more about your eligibility for a lawsuit, fill out the form on this page or keep reading for more information. It doesn’t cost anything to get in touch or to speak to someone about your rights.
- How Could a Lawsuit Help Me?
- A lawsuit could help you and your family recover money for medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and funeral costs (in the event of death). Multiple lawsuits against the same manufacturer may also pressure the company into redesigning or recalling its port-a-caths.
- What Will a Lawyer Cost Me?
- If your attorney does not win your case, you won’t pay. If they win your lawsuit, they will collect a percentage of your settlement or jury award.
If you or a family member developed complications from a port-a-cath, such as a catheter fracture or infection, you may have an opportunity to sue the manufacturer of the device.
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org have reason to believe a serious and similar defect may be plaguing multiple port-a-cath products on the market, causing some patients to suffer additional surgeries, extended hospital stays and even fatal injuries. They also suspect the port manufacturers may have had knowledge of the problem – and possible solutions – yet did nothing to redesign their products.
Medical device manufacturer C.R. Bard is already facing lawsuits over problems with its PowerPort ClearVue implantable port – and attorneys believe more cases can and will be filed.
Did you or a family member have a chest port implanted to receive chemotherapy, antibiotics, blood transfusions or intravenous nutrition?
If the catheter fractured or caused other complications, such as an infection, you may be able to file a lawsuit for medical bills and more.
For more information, fill out the form on this page. It doesn’t cost anything to get in touch, and you’re under no obligation to take legal action after speaking to someone about your rights.
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are looking to file lawsuits on behalf of patients who suffered complications from their port-a-caths, including the following:
This includes instances in which the catheter broke, potentially allowing pieces to migrate and pass through, perforate or embed themselves in an artery, vein or organ. Should a catheter piece become embedded and unable to be removed, it could present an issue for the patient for the rest of their life.
Catheter Dislodgement or Disconnection from the Port
Should a catheter dislodge from a chemo port, the medicine may pool beneath the skin – instead of being sent into the bloodstream – allowing for tissue necrosis, sepsis or other injuries to develop. Additionally, if the patient is not receiving the chemotherapy they need, this may allow for the cancer to unnecessarily progress or metastasize.
In one instance, it was reported that a five-year-old leukemia patient who received a Bard port-a-cath had his central line catheter disconnect and migrate to the heart. He required surgery to remove the injection port, as well as treatment by a specialized cardiologist to retrieve the catheter. A review of the patient’s injury stated that port-a-catheter migration symptoms may include heart palpitations and neck, shoulder, chest and ear pain.
It’s believed that the design of certain port-a-caths may put patients at risk for infection, including MRSA and other staph infections, which could lead to sepsis, limb loss, organ failure and death. Port-a-cath infection symptoms may include pus formation; red streaks coming from the port site; redness, swelling, warmth and tenderness around the port site; fever; and chills.
A 2020 study evaluating the long-term complications associated with port-a-caths was the first to show that post-operative arrhythmias “occur at significant rates” within the five-year follow-up period, noting that patients with a history of atrial fibrillation have an increased risk of both arrhythmias and other complications like infection.
It has also been alleged that a condition known as cardiac or pericardial tamponade has been associated with catheter failure. This condition develops when blood or other fluid fills the sac around the heart and applies pressure to the organ, preventing it from pumping properly.
Blood clots and related problems
Attorneys are also looking into cases involving patients who developed any of the following from a port-a-cath, including chemo ports:
- Pulmonary embolism
- Ischemia (inadequate blood supply to a part of the body, such as the heart or brain)
- Thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (abnormally high pressure in the lungs’ arteries, caused by prior blood clots)
Some symptoms of port-a-cath complications may include neck, shoulder or ear pain; trouble drawing blood; vein inflammation; and an inability to infuse fluids.
What Could Be Causing Problems with Port Catheters?
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org have reason to believe that the design of the port-a-caths may be causing complications in some patients.
They believe that many of the catheters in ports made by Bard, Angiodynamics and other device manufacturers are infused with barium sulfate, an additive that allows the lines to be seen on X-rays.
It’s suspected that particles of barium sulfate are released as the catheter comes into contact with blood, allowing for nicks or microscopic holes to develop, which can make the catheter vulnerable to fracture. One lawsuit filed against Bard alleges that the rough catheter surface can also increase the risk of blood clots, and studies have shown that imperfections on the surface may make the catheters more susceptible to bacterial growth.
Allegations have surfaced that had the catheters been coated in a certain way, the risk of tube fracture, infection and blood clots would be significantly reduced.
What’s Involved in Filing a Lawsuit?
If you are interested in filing a lawsuit against a port-a-cath manufacturer, an attorney will first ask you a few questions about the patient – whether it be you or a family member – and their injury. For instance, the attorney may ask when and why the port was implanted (chemotherapy, blood draws, etc.), what type of injury was suffered as a result, what medical treatment was needed for the injury and how the injury affected the individual’s life. You may also be asked about the facility that implanted your port and where any complications were treated.
It’s important to note, however, that these lawsuits will be filed against the manufacturer of the port-a-cath – not your doctor or hospital. Furthermore, you are not expected to know who made the port you or your family member was implanted with. It will be the responsibility of your attorney to gather your relevant medical records and verify which device was used.
Once your attorney has gathered enough background information and medical records, they will begin drafting what’s known as a complaint. A complaint is a legal document that, when filed, officially begins your lawsuit. It will include information such as the company or companies you are suing (defendants), how and why the complications developed, and why the defendants are responsible for the patient’s injuries.
For instance, your lawsuit may allege that the manufacturer of the port-a-cath:
- Knew (or should have known) about the risks associated with its port-a-catheters
- Concealed the severity of complications caused by its devices
- Could have redesigned the port-a-cath to prevent injuries, but chose not to
- Failed to warn patients and doctors about the risks associated with its port-a-caths
- Failed to properly test the devices and monitor reports of complications
Once your lawsuit is filed with the court, there will be a lot of back and forth between the attorneys for both sides. This will likely include filing motions, briefs and other documents with the court; taking depositions; engaging in discovery; attending court hearings; and working with both medical and financial experts.
If your case does not settle and is not dismissed, it will proceed to jury trial; however, courtroom trials have become increasingly rare in civil cases.
It’s important to note that in some instances of harmful medical devices, the lawsuits may be transferred to one court before a single judge to help efficiently manage the litigation, ensure consistent rulings and save time and money for all those involved. This is known as multi-district litigation. The court will appoint a group of qualified attorneys to coordinate pre-trial proceedings and help resolve the cases as a whole. This may involve a handful of lawsuits proceeding as “bellwether trials,” a test run to see how a jury may rule. For instance, if the defendants lose all or the majority of the bellwether trials, the company may want to reach a global settlement to avoid the risk and uncertainty of a jury trial in the remaining lawsuits. You can learn more about multidistrict litigation here.
Is This a Class Action Lawsuit? How Do I Join?
No, attorneys working with ClassAction.org are not handling this matter on a class action basis. This is because they believe the injuries associated with certain port-a-caths are serious enough to warrant individual cases. (Class action lawsuits are typically filed for individuals who have lost a small amount of money and suffered a relatively small harm – say, they bought a cheeseburger that was falsely advertised as containing more meat than it actually did.)
If you or a family member suffered serious side effects from a port-a-cath and you want to seek compensation from the manufacturer, you will need to hire your own attorney and file your own lawsuit.
Interested in filing a lawsuit? Get in touch today by filling out the form on this page. It doesn’t cost anything to get in touch, and you’re under no obligation to take legal action after speaking to someone about your rights.
How Much Will a Lawyer Cost to Handle My Port Catheter Injury Case?
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are handling these cases on a contingency-fee basis. This simply means that if you don’t win, you don’t pay. If your lawsuit is successful, your attorney will collect a percentage of your settlement or judgment as their fee for working on the case.
What Could I Get from a Lawsuit?
Potentially, by filing a lawsuit, you may be able to recover money for:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental suffering
- Medical bills (surgeries, medication, hospital stays, other treatment, etc.)
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of life’s enjoyment
- Funeral expenses
If you or a family member was injured by a chemo port or other port-a-cath, now’s the time to take action. Contact us today by filling out the form on this page.
After you get in touch, an attorney or legal representative may reach out to you directly to ask you a few questions, explain more about filing a lawsuit and address any concerns you may have. It doesn’t cost anything to get in touch or to speak to someone about your rights.
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