The History of Bard PowerPort Lawsuits


Imagine a medical device designed to simplify medication delivery. That’s the idea behind Bard PowerPort, a port-a-cath system implanted under the skin to provide easy access to medication and fluids. However, hundreds of patients have filed lawsuits against the manufacturer, Bard, alleging severe health problems linked to the device.


These lawsuits center on claims that design flaws in the Bard PowerPort may lead to malfunctions and potential complications. Understanding Bard PowerPort lawsuits is crucial if you or someone you know has suffered adverse health effects after receiving one. A great place to learn about this lawsuit and all other types of class action lawsuits is Lawsuit Legal News. The website is a gold mine when it comes to information regarding all the mass torts in the US. It has well-written articles and is regularly updated to make sure readers are in the loop about all the current class action lawsuits and mass torts in the US.


Let’s explore the history of these lawsuits and the critical arguments at play.

What is a Bard PowerPort? 

Before diving deeper, let’s understand what a Bard PowerPort is. A port-a-cath, short for implantable port-a-catheter, is a medical device that offers a convenient way for long-term treatment. It consists of a small, implantable reservoir placed under the skin, usually in the chest or arm.


This reservoir connects to a thin, flexible tube (catheter) that reaches a large vein. Medications and fluids can then be easily delivered through the port-a-cath with a simple needle prick, eliminating the need for repeated insertions in sensitive areas. This can significantly benefit patients undergoing chemotherapy or other treatments requiring frequent intravenous (IV) access.

Allegations Against Bard

The lawsuits against Bard center on allegations of design flaws within the Bard PowerPort system, specifically focusing on the catheter tubing. Plaintiffs claim that Bard used a combination of polyurethane and barium sulfate in the catheter, which may be problematic. According to the lawsuits, this material mixture could be prone to deterioration over time.  


The concern is that this deterioration could lead to cracks or fractures in the catheter tubing. A fractured catheter within the body could break apart, migrate out of position, or even block blood vessels. These potential malfunctions raise serious health risks for patients.


Furthermore, lawsuits allege that Bard may not have adequately informed doctors and patients about these potential risks. The lawsuits suggest that Bard may have downplayed the possibility of complications associated with the catheter material. This lack of transparency, if proven, could be a significant concern for anyone who received a Bard PowerPort.

Reported Injuries from Bard PowerPort 

The lawsuits detail various complications allegedly linked to Bard PowerPort malfunctions. A fractured or malfunctioning catheter could cause serious health problems. Plaintiffs report injuries such as:


  • Catheter migration: The catheter could move from its intended position, potentially causing issues with medication delivery or damaging nearby tissues.
  • Blood clots: Fractured catheter pieces or irritation from a malfunctioning device could increase the risk of blood clots forming in the veins. These clots can be dangerous and potentially travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism), blocking blood flow and becoming life-threatening.
  • Infection: A malfunctioning port-a-cath could increase the risk of infection at the implantation site or within the bloodstream.
  • Internal bleeding: In severe cases, a fractured catheter could puncture blood vessels, leading to internal bleeding.


These are just some potential complications associated with Bard PowerPort malfunctions, and some can be life-threatening.

Legal Developments

Given the growing number of lawsuits against Bard, the court system has streamlined the legal process. A legal mechanism called Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) can be established in complex cases with numerous plaintiffs across different jurisdictions. An MDL consolidates these cases before a single judge for pretrial proceedings, promoting efficiency and consistency in litigation handling.


In 2023, the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation centralized all Bard PowerPort lawsuits into an MDL overseen by the US District Court in Arizona. This consolidation allows for coordinated discovery, motions practice, and potentially even settlement negotiations before the cases return to their original courts for trial.


It’s important to note that while the FDA did issue a Class 2 recall for specific Bard PowerPort models in 2020, this recall was unrelated to the design defect at the center of the lawsuits. A Class 2 recall signifies a potential health risk but not necessarily a high probability of serious harm.

Current Status of the Lawsuits

As of April 2024, the number of cases in the Bard PowerPort MDL is not publicly available, but estimates suggest hundreds of plaintiffs are involved. The litigation process continues to move forward. Both sides are likely engaged in discovery, exchanging evidence, and potentially filing motions to shape the future course of the lawsuits.


Settlement negotiations could also be underway. Predicting the outcome or timeline for the MDL is difficult, but it could take several years before individual cases proceed to trial.


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