Last Updated: September 14, 2023
Author: Robert King

The Bard PowerPort is a port-a-cath, a port catheter device that is implanted under the skin to allow easy access to a patient’s veins. Port catheters are commonly used for medical IV therapy or delivery of fluids.

The Bard Power Port was approved by the FDA in 2000 as an implanted port catheter device. However, design and manufacturing flaws make the device prone to breakage (fracturing) and migration, causing blood clots, serious injuries, such as cardiac punctures, and severe infections.

Due to injuries caused by the port-a-cath, Bard is facing product liability lawsuits, known in the legal community as the Bard Power Port lawsuits. Lawsuits claim that patients who had a Bard Powerport implant may have a higher risk of complications or injuries due to catheter failure.

The Bard lawsuits are expected to become an MDL (multidistrict litigation).

If you or your family member or loved one had a Bard PowerPort catheter device and subsequently suffered injuries or negative health effects due to fracture, migration, or other failures of the implant, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact an experienced product liability lawyer to get your case evaluated and prepared for a port catheter lawsuit.

Latest Bard PowerPort and Port Catheter Lawsuit Updates

September 14, 2023: Leadership Structure Proposed in Bard PowerPort Lawsuit

Nearly 40 plaintiff’s attorneys have just been proposed to hold leadership positions in the ongoing Bard PowerPort lawsuit. This proposal nominates: 3 attorneys to serve as Co-Lead Counsel; 11 attorneys to serve on the Executive Counsel or Liaison Counsel; 13 attorneys to serve on the Steering Committee; and, 12 attorneys to serve as Sub-Committee Members. It will be the responsibility of leadership committee members to carry out specific functions throughout the litigation process. Some of these functions may include, but are not limited to conducting investigations and interviews that have a shared interest in all claims, preparing and presenting arguments before the Court, and engaging in settlement discussions that lay the groundwork for resolving all claims related to Bard PowerPort lawsuit injuries. These attorneys are obligated to act in the best interest of every individual that has brought a claim for injury against Bard PowerPort, and that each individual claim will remain separate and distinct from one another. As a component of organizing these lawsuits, it is anticipated that the Judge will order the plaintiff’s and the defendant to select several “test” cases for trial. These so-called “bellwether” trials will serve as a means of assessing how juries might react to specific injuries, evidence and testimony. The results of these test trials will form the groundwork for later settlement negotiations. This litigation is still in the very beginning stages of a process that is expected to take several years.

August 22, 2023: Bard Powerport MDL organized in Arizona Federal Court

On August 8, 2023, the Judicial Panel for Multi-District Litigation (JPML) issued an ORDER that the Bard PowerPort lawsuits shall be transferred and organized as an MDL in the District of Arizona before the Hon. David G. Campbell for consolidated pretrial proceedings. Some may refer to this as the Bard Powerport Class Action Lawsuit. Although an MDL shares similarities with a class action lawsuit, the major difference is that each plaintiff maintains their own case and their own set of facts. Instead of all plaintiff’s settling for a large amount an splitting the award, each plaintiff has the ability to settle based on the injuries suffered and the facts of their own case.

July 2023: On July 27, 2023 federal judges consider plaintiffs’ proposals for MDL

Attorney’s for the plaitiff’s made a request to the MDL Judicial Panel for a Bard PowerPort lawsuit lawsuit to be established in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

>>> Read Past Bard PowerPort Lawsuit Updates Here

Table of Contents:

What is Wrong with the Bard PowerPort Device?

Patients have experienced various degrees of PowerPort complications from Bard PowerPort usage. Lawsuits claim that the Bard PowerPort has a faulty design sometimes causing the catheter tube to crack, migrate and/or leak thus significantly increasing the risk of infections, injuries, or incorrect/insufficient delivery of essential fluids or medication.

PowerPort catheter tubes are made of ChronoFlex which is made from a mixture of silicone or polyurethane and barium sulfate. Barium sulfate is used to make the device visible on X-rays.

However, the barium sulfate particles don’t seem to fully integrate into the catheter polymer and air pockets tend to form, making the material fragile. Additionally, due to high concentrations of barium sulfate the material becomes less durable, and, as the patient moves, the catheter bends and can fracture, subjecting the patient to the risks of thromboembolism and blood clots.

Catheter pieces can cause significant internal organ damage if they get into the bloodstream. Emergency surgery will then be required to remove fractured pieces and treat affected organs. The cost of removing a PowerPort is comparable to the cost of implanting it and is believed to be around $10,000 without insurance.

Bard allegedly knew about PowerPort catheter fractures, migrations, and infections since its introduction in 2000. Bard’s failure to inform patients and medical providers and to recall the product in a timely fashion resulted in serious injuries and deaths and caused patients and family members to file lawsuits hoping for justice.

Bard PowerPort Design

Bard Power Port Device shown on table
Before we discuss injuries associated with Bard PowerPort catheters it is important to understand their design and the materials used to make them.

The Bard PowerPort is an implantable catheter that is made up of two main parts:

  • The injection port: a small, self-sealing port that is implanted under the skin close to a vein. It has a silicone septum so a needle may pass through the skin and then through the septum to inject medication directly into the reservoir for an IV treatment or blood transfusion.
  • The catheter: a flexible tube that connects the injection port to a vein. The body of the catheter is made of polyurethane material and is radiopaque (it is visible on X-rays/MRIs). Some Bard PowerPort catheters are made using ChronoFlex (a family of biocompatible aromatic polycarbonate-based thermoplastic elastomers). ChronoFlex is supposed to be more durable than polyurethane.
Injection portSilicone
CatheterPolyurethane or ChronoFlex

The Bard PowerPort is used to deliver medications, fluids, and blood transfusions. It is often used in cancer patients who are receiving chemotherapy or other cancer therapies. PowerPort is also used in patients with chronic kidney disease or who need regular blood transfusions.

Common Bard PowerPort Complications and Injuries

Power Port complications the patients have voiced suggest that the PowerPort device is less durable than it should be. A growing number of lawsuits point out a flaw in the design of the Chronoflex catheters that result in the following Bard Power Port problems:

  1. Catheter fracture injuries
  2. Catheter-related infections
  3. Catheter migration

Catheter Fracture Injuries

The PowerPort catheter tube is prone to fracturing, which can lead to small pieces of plastic breaking away and getting into the vascular system, potentially leading to life-threatening complications. Complications from fractured pieces may include:

  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Cardiac punctures
  • Blood clots
  • Hematomas
  • Lacerations to blood vessels
  • Cardiac/pericardial tamponade (pressure caused by an accumulation of fluid in the area around the heart)
  • Thromboembolism
  • Perforations of tissue, vessels and organs (i.e. heart or lungs)

Bard catheter failure can also result in severe and persistent pain. Emergency surgery is often required to remove fractured pieces and treat affected organ systems.

Catheter Infection Injuries

Patients with a Bard catheter may develop infections due to bacteria entering broken areas of the PowerPort. Common symptoms of an infection include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Inflammation, redness, swelling or pain around the catheter site
  • Drainage or pus
  • Skin discoloration
  • Numbness
  • Confusion

Complications from catheter infection can be serious and even life-threatening.

Infection around the catheter site can lead to bloodstream infections, severe swelling, and even necrosis of tissues around the PowerPort.

Catheter Migration

Catheter disconnection and migration are rare but serious complications associated with Bard PowerPort. It can lead to side effects such as venous thrombosis and neurologic problems.

Patients experiencing catheter migration can be asymptomatic, which makes diagnosis and treatment more difficult. The most common port-a-cath migration symptoms include:

  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Chest pain
  • Ear pain
  • Heart palpitations

Entire catheter dislodgment is even more rare, but unfortunately possible and requires emergency surgery.

Catheter migration can lead to obstruction of blood flow, infection and organ damage.

Bard PowerPort Lawsuit Allegations

The Bard PowerPort lawsuits claim that the devices are defective, creating possible infections and catheter failures that can lead to thrombosis, organ damage, and even death. The lawsuits allege that Bard Access Systems, Inc., and its parent company, Becton Dickinson and Company, the manufacturers of the PowerPort, knew about the risks associated with the device, but failed to inform patients and medical professionals.

The lawsuits specifically note that the PowerPort is susceptible to fractures and infections. Some of the specific injuries that have been reported in connection with the PowerPort include:

  • Thrombosis
  • Damage to veins and blood vessels
  • Necrosis
  • Blood clots
  • Cardiac/pericardial tamponade
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Perforations of vessels, organs, and tissue
  • Chronic pain

Manufacturer Recalls of Bard PowerPort Devices

Bard Power Port Brochure
Bard recently initiated a recall for multiple lots of PowerPort. The following products were affected:

  1. PowerPort Implantable Port With Attachable 9.6 F Open-Ended Single-Lumen Venous Catheter REF: 1709600, Air Guard, With suture Plugs, (01)00801741026720;
  2. PowerPort Implantable Port With Attachable 9.6 F Open-Ended Single- Lumen Venous Catheter, REF: 1709601, Air Guard, Without Suture Plugs, (01)00801741026737;
  3. PowerPort Implantable Port with Pre-Attached 9.6F Open-Ended Single-Lumen Venous Catheter, REF: 1759600 Air Guard, With Suture Plugs, (01)00801741026850

If you have a Bard PowerPort implant, it is important to consult your doctor immediately to see if your catheter is affected by the recall. You can also check the FDA’s website for a list of all recalls of Bard PowerPort devices.

PowerPort Settlement and Payout Amounts

It is difficult to predict the Bard settlement amounts. Further, the amount of compensation you could receive from a PowerPort lawsuit settlement will depend on the severity of your/your loved one’s injuries. It is also important to note that compensation or even favorable outcome of the trial are not guaranteed.

Possible damages may include:

  • The cost of past and future medical treatments
  • Legal fees
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced future earning potential
  • Decreased quality of life
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • The loss of a loved one

The specific amount of compensation you receive will depend on the individual circumstances of your case. For a case evaluation, consult our team of experienced product liability and personal injury lawyers.

How to File a Bard PowerPort Lawsuit

Filing a Bard PowerPort lawsuit can be a complicated process. We recommend working with a lawyer who has experience handling similar cases. Here are the steps involved:

  1. Consult an attorney. An experienced Bard PowerPort attorney can help you evaluate your case and determine if you are eligible to file a claim. They can also help you understand the legal process and timeline.
  2. Gather evidence. You will need to gather evidence to support your claim. This usually includes medical records, photographs, witness statements, and medical bills.
  3. With the help of your lawyer, file a lawsuit. Once you have gathered evidence, you will need to file a lawsuit against Bard Access Systems, Inc., and its parent company, Becton Dickinson and Company.
  4. Discovery process. After the lawsuit is filed, the parties will engage in pre-trial discovery. This may include exchanging documents and requesting medical records, bills, and proof of payment.
  5. Trial. If the case doesn’t get settled, it will go to trial. At trial, a jury will decide whether Bard is responsible for your injuries and subsequent suffering/loss of income/loss of consortium/etc. If the jury finds Bard responsible then they will determine the payout amount you are entitled to.
  6. Appeal. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the trial, you and your lawyer may appeal the decision.

Contact a Port Catheter Injury Lawyer

A lawyer will help you navigate the legal system, provide you with peace of mind, and ensure you get compensated fairly.  

At King Law, we are a team of experienced personal injury lawyers with a strong commitment to our clients. Call us today to see if you qualify for the Bard PowerPort lawsuit.

Latest News on Bard PowerPort

June 2023
Oral arguments are planned to be heard on July 27, 2023 to decide whether to create a Bard MDL.
May 2023
A motion was filed to centralize Bard PowerPort lawsuits before one judge for discovery and pretrial proceedings.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a Bard PowerPort?
A Bard PowerPort is an implantable vascular access device made by Bard Access Systems, Inc., a subsidiary of Becton Dickinson and Company.
How does a port catheter work?
A port catheter is a medical device that is implanted under the skin. The Bard PowerPort is implanted under the skin in a procedure that is typically performed under local anesthesia. To use a port catheter, a healthcare provider will insert a needle through the septum of the injection port and into the catheter. The needle can then be used to deliver medication, blood or fluids into the bloodstream.
What causes fracture and migration in port catheters?
There are a few factors that can cause fracture and migration in port catheters. These include catheter design, frequent catheter use, and catheter placement. Additionally there are patient factors at play, including age, medical conditions and level of physical activity.
What is a port catheter?
A port catheter is a medical device that is implanted under the skin to make IV therapies or blood transfusions easier.
When was the Bard PowerPort developed?
Port catheters were first developed in 1982. The Bard PowerPort was approved by the FDA and first marketed in 2000.
What are the problems with the Bard PowerPort?
The Bard PowerPort is generally considered safe. However, some patients have experienced complications including catheter fracture, catheter migration and catheter-related infections. Other complications that have been reported with the Bard PowerPort include pain, bruising and swelling following the implantation procedure.
What does a PowerPort do?
A PowerPort is a medical device that is used to deliver medications, fluids, and blood to patient’s bloodstream. It is often indicated for patients who receiving chemotherapy, need regular blood transfusions or have chronic kidney disease.
What can go wrong with a port removal?
Port removal is a relatively simple procedure, commonly performed in medical practice, but there are some risks associated with it. These risks include bruising, bleeding, infection, catheter fracture (which is rare), catheter migration (which is also rare), and nerve damage.
How long do port catheters last?
Port catheters typically last for 5-6 years, but they may need to be replaced sooner if they are damaged or the patient’s condition changes. The lifespan of a port catheter depends on a variety of factors, including the type of catheter, how often it is used, and the patient’s overall health.
What is a Bard PowerPort made of?
A Bard PowerPort is made of a silicone injection port and a polyurethane/ChronoFlex catheter.