The Bard PowerPort, often known as the "BardPort," is a subdermal medical device designed to facilitate the connection of a catheter for the administration of intravenous fluids or medication. However, since its launch, there have been numerous patient reports of issues with this device, such as the catheter port material breaking, which has led to the catheter either fracturing or shifting position. These complications have been linked to serious infections, blood clots, heart punctures, and other critical health risks.
Patients who believe they were injured by a defective Bard PowerPort are now pursuing product liability claims against the manufacturer of the device. Medical device manufacturers owe patients a legal duty to fully inform patients of the risks they face when pursuing any medical procedure or surgery using their products. Doctors also have a duty to inform patients of these risks to the extent they are aware of them. However, if doctors used a Bard PowerPort and you were not made aware of the potential complications, you may have a product claim against the manufacturer of the device.
What Is the Bard PowerPort?
The Bard PowerPort is a brand of implantable venous access medical device (often referred to simply as a "port") manufactured by Bard Access Systems, a subsidiary of Becton, Dickinson and Company. These devices are used to provide long-term intravenous (“IV”) access, allowing for the repeated delivery of medications, fluids, blood products, and for the drawing of blood samples.
A PowerPort, like other similar devices, consists of two main parts. The port chamber is a small reservoir with a self-sealing septum on top. It is typically made of plastic or metal and is implanted beneath the skin, usually on the upper chest. The catheter is a flexible tube that is connected to the port chamber and is threaded into a large vein, typically leading into the superior vena cava near the heart.
The PowerPort is designed for power injection. This means it can be used for procedures like contrast-enhanced CT scans where rapid injection of contrast material is required. To access the port, a special needle is inserted through the skin and into the septum of the port chamber. This allows for the direct injection of medications or other fluids into the bloodstream or for blood to be drawn. After the needle is removed, the septum reseals itself.
Patients Express Safety Concerns Regarding the Bard PowerPort
Based on a review of numerous patients’ complaints with the Bard PowerPort, it appears that most believe the issue relates to the materials used to create the catheter tubes. Evidently, many of these devices consist of flexible polyurethane polymer created by mixing polyurethane and barium sulfate. However, there may be an issue with the company’s use of high barium sulfate concentrations, which could result in small cracks developing in the catheter tubing, as well as other problems, such as degradation of the structural integrity of the tubing.
There have also been reports that Bard PowerPort devices present an increased risk of infection. This is due to the fact that the needle leaves a small hole behind after it’s removed, allowing for the potential for bacteria to grow.
What Are the Risks of a Potentially Defective Bard PowerPort?
Patients have reported a range of potential complications stemming from the Bard PowerPort. Most of these concerns relate to the development of blood clots, the device moving from its original position, infection, and the device breaking down. Patients experiencing these complications may suffer from any of the following:
- Blood clots,
- Cardiac arrhythmia,
- Cardiac arrhythmia,
- Cardiac Punctures,
- Cardiac/pericardial tamponade,
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT),
- Hemorrhaging or Bleeding Injuries,
- Perforations of tissues, vessels and organs,
- Pulmonary embolism,
- Severe and persistent pain,
- Tearing of blood vessels, and
Notably, there is often a risk of infection whenever doctors are required to break the skin or insert a foreign object into the body. However, the Bard PowerPort infections tend to arise well after the medical procedure, meaning these infections are less likely due to initial exposure and may be due to a problem with the design of the Bard PowerPort.
Has There Been a Bard PowerPort Recall?
While the FDA announced a class 2 recall involving certain Bard PowerPort models back in 2020, the FDA terminated the recall in 2022 after the company took corrective measures to address the device failures. However, there has not been a Bard PowerPort recall based on the more recent concerns of many patients.
Did the Manufacturer Know of Problems with the Bard Power Port?
Whether Bard knew of any problems with the Bard PowerPort remains an open question. However, in the Bard PowerPort lawsuits, some patients suggest that Bard must have known that the device suffered from higher rates of complication and failure than similar devices. This, the patients claim, should have prompted Bard to issue clearer warnings about the risks of using the PowerPort device.
Is There Currently a Bard PowerPort Lawsuit?
Yes, there are currently many patients who have suffered what they claim to be serious health consequences of using related to a defective Bard PowerPort device. And in August 2023, a panel of federal judges ruled that the various Bard PowerPort lawsuits filed in federal court should be consolidated and heard by a single judge in an MDL class action lawsuit.
What Compensation May Be Available to Patients Through a Bard PowerPort Lawsuit?
Damages awards in a product liability lawsuit vary based on the surrounding circumstances, including the severity of the victim’s injuries. However, as a general rule, victims who successfully bring a claim can recover for the economic and non-economic damages they sustained due to the defective device. For example, economic damages include compensation for all past medical expenses related to a patient’s injury, as well as any future medical costs for follow-up treatments. Compensation for a patient’s lost wages and decrease in their earning capacity may also be available.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are intended to compensate victims for the emotional and psychological impact that their injuries had on their lives. This includes damaged amounts for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and damaged familial relationships.