A port catheter is a medical device often known as an implanted port device, port-a-cath, or a subcutaneous port. Port catheters are special catheters designed with a reservoir. This is implanted into the consumer and is used to give medication directly, removing the need for daily catheters.

One of the benefits of these devices is that they can remain installed for weeks or months if necessary. This provides some relief to cancer patients for example, who need daily chemo and do not want to have a new catheter each day.

The removal of a catheter is usually a safe and uncomplicated procedure. It involves an incision overlying the port reservoir, dissection, and gentle fracture to remove the device, followed by the closure of the insertion site. Difficulty removing a port catheter is uncommon, especially if a high-quality device is used.

Difficulty with catheter removal could be a sign that a defective product was used. In recent years there has been an increase in complications related to defective devices, causing migration, dislodgement, and fracture. When a device fractures or migrates, it can cause serious harm, and removing the device becomes more complex.

If you have suffered because of a defective port catheter device, then you may deserve compensation. It is essential that medical device manufacturers adhere to the highest standards and take every step possible to keep consumers of their products safe from harm.

A doctor standing next to a patient discussing the potential complication of the port a catheter they plan to use.

Contact Holman Schiavone, LLC Today

Our team of product liability attorneys can draw upon a long history of past success. Each and every member of our team is a ruthless negotiator and a trial-tested litigator. This means we can handle your personal injury case, no matter what direction it takes. Our reputation for aggressive representation precedes us, and this means that the other party and their insurance company will know we won’t back down from a fight.

We want all victims of defective medical products to have the opportunity to pursue the recovery of their medical bills and other damages, as well as the chance to seek compensation for the pain and suffering they have been through as a result of the defective product. For that reason, we offer a free consultation and case evaluation to any victim who needs advice. We will evaluate your case for you and decide if it is worth pursuing; if it is, we will offer to help.

As soon as you get in touch with our team, we will examine the consequences of your injury so we can accurately gauge what the compensation you are owed should look like. This compensation should provide you with financial security and should cover all future expenses that may arise as a result of the injury you have suffered.

Contact us today at 816-320-6108 to speak to a dedicated attorney about your financial recovery.

What is a Port-a-Cath?

A totally implantable central venous access device, or port-a-cath, is a type of central venous catheter consisting of a subcutaneous port and a catheter, which is inserted into a major vessel. It commonly ends at the lower superior vena cava and right atrium. A port-a-cath allows for ongoing treatments and blood tests without the use of lots of needles which can become painful and frustrating.

The port of a central venous catheter is commonly secured in the subcutaneous tissue of the left chest wall. The catheter either enters the vein above the heart, known as subclavian vein cannulation or a vein in the neck, known as internal jugular vein cannulation. The ideal position of the catheter tip is the distal superior vena cava.

Central venous catheter insertion is a common procedure, and once complete the device can be left in for weeks, months, or even years. The removal of the device should be relatively straightforward so long as the device has remained whole.

What Other Names Are Used For Port Catheters?

There are various types of port catheters and lots of names. Some terms you may have heard include:

  • Port-a-cath
  • Port catheter
  • Venous port system
  • Central venous system
  • Subcutaneous central venous catheters
  • Implantable venous access system
  • Subcutaneous central venous ports
  • Totally implantable venous access device
  • Totally implantable central venous access ports
  • Central venous access devices

What Types of Catheters Are Available For Cancer Patients?

There are many uses for port catheter devices, but the most common consumers are cancer patients who require chemotherapy treatments. Port catheters allow for treatments that last a day or more, and patients can go to and from the hospital with the device left in. The three most commonly used port catheters for cancer patients are:

Tunneled Catheter

A tunneled catheter is inserted into a vein in the neck (ipsilateral internal jugular vein) or chest (superior vena cava). One end passes under the skin before exiting through a small incision. Part of the catheter remains outside of your skin, and patients are usually given local anesthesia for the procedure.

Catheters can become infected, so it is important that you speak to your doctor straight away if you notice any pain, redness, swelling, bleeding, drainage, a warm or burning sensation, or a fever.

Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC)

A peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) is inserted into a large vein in your arm, one end of the catheter remains outside of your skin, and a special dressing will cover it when it is not in use, which must be replaced weekly to prevent infection. The line needs to be kept dry and so must be covered while bathing or showering.

Internal jugular venous cannulation is usually the preferred choice for central venous catheters because it is easy to see in an ultrasound, has a superficial location and has a straight course to the superior vena cava.

Implantable Chest Port

A surgeon can implant a chest port under the skin for subclavian venous catheterization. Percutaneous subclavian vein access usually requires conscious sedation, and after the procedure, you will not require any dressing or bandage. This is because the catheter is attached to the port, which you will be able to feel under your skin.

What are the Potential Complications When Having a Port Removed?

The removal process for a catheter device depends on what type of catheter you have. For example, PICC lines don’t require an operation to be removed, instead, they are gently pulled out by a medical professional.

On the other hand, implanted ports are a little more complex and must be removed using local anesthesia or conscious sedation. Implanted ports are removed in a sterile operating room so that a small incision can be made for the port catheter to be removed.

So long as the device is intact, the process should be straightforward for a trained nurse or doctor. However, if you were the victim of a defective product that caused a part of the device to fracture or break, then fragments of the catheter may need to be located before they can be removed, making the procedure more complex.

If you have had a catheter removed and have noticed pain, swelling, or bruising that has gotten worse, fluid seeping from the incision, a fever, a lot of bleeding, or if the area becomes hot and irritated, then contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Common Injuries Resulting From Defective Catheter Devices

There is a huge range of different port catheters in use today, and everyone carries different risks. However, when a catheter is defective, the most common injuries that occur are through breakages.

Catheter Breakage

Defective port catheters may be made of materials that are not up to the task. When substandard parts are used in a port catheter, they may be prone to breakage. Tiny pieces of the catheter may break off, ending up in the heart or circulatory system of the consumer. This has potential to cause death or require emergency surgery.

Breakage can make catheter removal a complicated procedure. If you have had complications from the removal of your catheter device, then you should contact Holman Schiavone, LLC for a free consultation so that we can review your case.

Catheter Infection

Infection can be a serious complication of central venous catheter placement. When a port catheter gets infected, there may be swelling around the site and some feelings of breathlessness. This is common and minor cases can be treated with the use of a round of antibiotics. If this does not work, the catheter may need to be removed.

In more serious infections, there may be sepsis, and this can prove fatal. Sepsis leads to blood clots and organ failure in the most drastic of cases. These infections may be caused by a degradation of the port catheter because the space created by a fracture could allow bacteria to grow.

Catheter Migration or Dislodgement

Sometimes a port catheter tip can dislodge entirely from where it has been implanted. This is less serious than smaller breakages, and as long as it stays in one piece, there is a good chance it can be removed without causing serious harm.

Incorrect Insertion of a Port Catheter

Rarely, a port catheter is inserted incorrectly, causing injury such as inadvertent thoracic duct catheterization. This is not a result of a faulty device but rather the negligent actions of a medical professional. When this happens, it is usually rectified quickly and does not cause long-term damage.

Defective Port Catheters

If you have suffered an injury because of a port catheter, and you believe it was due to the device being defective, you should discuss your case with a dedicated law firm, like Holman Schiavone, LLC. We offer a free consultation for a reason, and there are no strings attached. If you walk away after we have evaluated your case and received our advice, at least you will be much more informed than you were before.

If you agree to representation, you can move forward in confidence, knowing that we don’t back down from a fight, no matter who it is against. Every voice matters, and these large medical manufacturing corporations do not deserve to get away with it. Every successful case we fight protects others in the future from suffering the same injuries.

Who Is Responsible for Catheter Injuries?

If you or someone you love has had a defective port catheter installed, and there has been injury as a result, you need to speak to a port catheter injury lawyer immediately. They can help calculate your damages and compensation, evidence your case and help you fight for what you are owed.

Your attorney will begin right away, investigating to see if the injury was indeed caused by a defective product. Injuries caused by a defective port catheter may be due to the manufacturer, and they will be who you seek your compensation.

A port catheter fracture, which may be a form of defective port catheter injury, occurs when a part of the port catheter breaks off from the main body, migrating around the patient’s bloodstream.

What Damages Can I Claim in a Port Catheter Product Liability Case?

The level of compensation that may be on offer to you will depend entirely upon the damages you have suffered as a result of the product defect.

Potential damages you could claim include:

Medical Treatment

The need for further medical treatment following a defective medical product injury is a constant worry for victims. Medical care is expensive, and you should not be left out of pocket for medical bills that arise as a result of a defective product.

Your attorney will work to document your past medical bills and will calculate what long-term care and treatment may cost you. This will allow them to pursue a figure that covers you for all of your medical expenses and future costs.

Medical expenses include treatment costs, medication costs, transport costs, and childcare you have needed while you receive treatment.

If you are going to require long term treatment, your attorney will work with medical experts to gauge the scope of this. 

Pain and Suffering

Your pain and suffering damages are designed to cover you for the emotional suffering and pain the injury has caused you. These damages are subjective, meaning it will be down to your attorney to work out what they believe your suffering to be worth. This makes it important to find an attorney who has successfully won pain and suffering damages for clients in similar cases, as it will give them an advantage.

Loss of Enjoyment

If your injuries mean you can no longer enjoy your life in the same way, such as the inability to play sports with friends, you deserve to be compensated for this loss.

Lost Wages

Almost all serious injuries caused by a defective port catheter are going to mean that you need time off work to recover. This will often lead to a loss of wages and earning potential. You should not have to suffer financially because of your injuries.

Your attorney will consider what your lost wages are worth and will look to the future to see what a lifetime of lost earning potential may look like if your injuries are that severe.

Wrongful Death

The worst possible outcome of a defective port catheter, is that it causes an injury that kills the patient. These cases are the most complex and will require a highly skilled attorney.

No amount of compensation will ever bring your loved one back, but with an attorney, you can pursue enough that you are financially secure during this difficult time.

Do I Need a Port Catheter Injury Lawyer to Secure Compensation?

You have the right to pursue compensation without legal representation, but it is rarely a good idea for victims to do so. Winning a case like this requires a strong level of evidence and a compelling case. The best way to provide both is to use an attorney who knows how to do so. They will build the strongest possible case on your behalf and will assist you in investigating what happened.

You will also be fighting against the aggressive legal team that the medical manufacturing company uses to defend itself from these claims. They will be highly capable; after all, their sole job is to fight against victims like you. Without a skilled attorney, you will be at a massive disadvantage. With a skilled attorney, you level the playing field. With a port catheter injury attorney from Holman Schiavone Law, LLC, you will have an advocate with a stellar reputation. Sometimes that can make all the difference between a settlement and a drawn-out court battle.

Your attorney will collect evidence, file paperwork, work out how much you are owed, liaise with the other attorneys involved in your case, and will fight for you at trial if necessary.

Contact Holman Schiavone, LLC For a Free Consultation

If you believe that you or someone you love may have been the victim of a defective catheter device, then you may be owed compensation.

When you contact Holman Schiavone, LLC, we will review your case for free and determine whether we believe you have a valid claim. If so, and you agree to representation, we will get to work quickly to gather strong evidence and fight fiercely to secure what you deserve. At the same time, we will put pressure on medical device manufacturers to improve their practices and protect future consumers.

If you need to call us to speak to a catheter injury lawyer, call today at 816-320-6108.