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Bard PowerPort Fragment Lodged in Heart, Resulting in Multiple Surgeries To Remove Fractured Chemo Port: Lawsuit
An Illinois woman has filed a product liability lawsuit against Becton, Dickinson and Company and it’s Bard subsidiaries, indicating that she ended up with a Bard PowerPort fragment in her heart, after the port catheter fractured more than a year after it was implanted to administer chemotherapy treatments for her breast cancer.
The complaint (PDF) was brought by Sa’Da Chester in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on October 4, claiming that the manufacturers sold a defectively designed implant and failed to warn the public or the medical community after fractured chemo ports began to be reported.
The case joins a number of similar Bard PowerPort lawsuits filed in recent months, each raising allegations that the device is prone to fracture and fail, sending fragments traveling throughout the body.
Bard Port Catheter Lawsuit
Bard PowerPort Fragment Found In Woman’s Heart
Chester indicates that the Bard PowerPort was surgically implanted in her left internal jugular vein in March 2020, involving an injection port where chemotherapy drugs could be administered through a polyurethane catheter tube into the bloodstream.
In November 2021, Chester received an X-ray chest exam which revealed that there was a Bard PowerPort fragment in the right atrium of her heart, apparently having pierced through the azygos vein, located in the rear right of the chest. The fragment was found to be extending from the vein into the heart.
The same day the fragment was discovered, doctors attempted to remove the fractured chemo port from her jugular. However, after multiple attempts, surgeons failed to be able to remove the entire device, because it had become encased in a fibrin sheath, which involves a buildup of fibrin, collagen, and blood clots around a foreign object in the body.
“The catheter component of Plaintiff’s port was unable to be removed although the surgeon attempted to capture the catheter from two different locations within Plaintiff’s body,” Chester’s lawsuit notes. “Plaintiff suffered multiple episodes of ventricular tachycardia during the surgical procedure described in this paragraph. Upon information and belief, said multiple episodes of ventricular tachycardia prevented the surgeon from further attempts to remove Plaintiff’s port.”
The next day, Chester underwent yet another procedure, this time to remove the PowerPort fragment from her heart. This procedure was also unsuccessful.
Several more days passed, and then Chester went to the emergency department due to chest pain, at which point she was diagnosed as having an embolus caused by the port catheter fragment. She indicated that the pain had increased after the recent partial removal of the port catheter.
Ultimately, about eight days after the fragment was discovered, the port catheter was successfully removed through a procedure called a Sheath Insertion, by accessing the port through the femoral artery.
The lawsuit claims both the defective design of the Bard PowerPort, and the manufacturers’ failure to warn of known problems with the implant, contributed to Chester’s injuries.
“Defendants concealed, and continue to conceal, their knowledge of the Device’s unreasonably dangerous risks from healthcare providers, including Plaintiff’s, and from the consumers, including Plaintiff,” the lawsuit states. “Numerous reports of severe complications and injuries from the Device, including the reports of catheter fracture and cardiac migration—with no evidence of the medical provider’s error—were recorded and reported to Defendants before the Device was implanted into Plaintiff. Despite knowledge of such injuries, Defendants continued to market the Device as safe, actively and aggressively.”
October 2023 Bard PowerPort Lawsuit Update
Given common questions of fact and law raised in Bard PowerPort lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decided last month to consolidate all Bard PowerPort lawsuits in the District of Arizona, where U.S. District Judge David Campbell was assigned to preside over coordinated pretrial procedures.
Chester’s case will be centralized with other claims to avoid duplicative discovery into common issues that apply to all cases, avoid conflicting pretrial ruling from different judges and to serve the convenience of common witnesses, parties and the judicial system.
Unlike other implanted ports, such as Port-a-cath or Mediport, the Bard PowerPort is marketed as a special type of port catheter, which is intended to withstand higher injection pressures. However, each of the complaints involve similar injuries that allegedly resulted from a failure of the device, including migration of the device, infections, blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, perforations and other damage caused by a Bard PowerPort fracture.
As part of the management of the port catheter lawsuits, it is expected that Judge Campbell will select a small group of representative cases that will be prepared for early trial dates, to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation. However, if the manufacturer fails to negotiation Bard Port settlements following these MDL proceedings, each case may later be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for a separate trial date in the future.
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