Catheter fracture is one of the most common preventable complications from a port catheter. It happens when a catheter fragment comes away from the device and travels through the bloodstream.
A fractured device is the perfect hosting ground for harmful bacteria, leading to infections and sepsis. At the same time, loose fragments can lead to serious and life-threatening conditions including blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. In the most severe cases, fragments can migrate and end up harming the heart or other organs. A broken device is also more difficult to retrieve and may require invasive surgery.
A catheter should not fracture when used for its intended purpose. When this happens, it is usually a case for product liability, which means that victims can claim compensation for their injuries.
Many models of port catheters have been recalled in recent years due to catheter fractures, including the Bard PowerPort and Bard SlimPort. These models were not up to the task and caused serious and preventable harm to thousands of consumers.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury because of a fractured catheter in Kansas or Missouri, then you should contact a catheter injury lawyer at Holman Schiavone Law, LLC, as soon as possible.
Contact a Catheter Injury Lawyer at Holman Schiavone Law, LLC Today
Cases involving medical equipment are complex, as it is necessary to distinguish between your pre existing injuries and what harm was caused by the defective product. They also involve large medical manufacturers who employ skilled legal teams to limit their liability in any case brought against them.
At Holman Schiavone Law, LLC, we are uniquely prepared to handle your case. We have a long history of success to draw upon and have the skills, experience, and resources to help you seek justice.
We will take over the investigation so that you can focus on your recovery. We take a personalized approach, which means that we take the time to understand what impact your injuries have had on your life so we can fight for a settlement that is representative of your suffering.
We also have a long history of trial success. Insurance defense lawyers know that we will always be willing to defend our clients in front of a Judge, which means that they will be more likely to offer a high settlement to avoid a long and costly court proceeding.
We offer a free consultation so that all victims can seek free legal advice and gain clarity on their next steps. If we believe you have a valid claim and you decide to continue with representation, then we will get to work quickly to build your case and secure the compensation you deserve. At the same time, we will put pressure on manufacturing companies to recall their products and improve their practices to prevent future harm.
Contact us today and arrange a free consultation with a catheter fracture attorney at 816-320-6108.
What is a Port Catheter?
A port catheter, a term used for various medical devices, is composed of two parts. A medical appliance called a port connects to the catheter, which is a long flexible tube that is inserted into the vein.
A common type of port is a central venous catheter which allows for rapid central venous access, used to administer medicine or take blood samples. These catheters are designed for patients who require ongoing treatment, such as cancer patients.
Central venous catheter insertion is a common procedure that allows for repeated access to the vein and removes the need for several needles, which can be painful and uncomfortable. The device can be left in for weeks, months, or even years.
Usually, the port is inserted under the skin of the left chest wall and the catheter enters just above the heart, known as subclavian vein cannulation, or a vein in the neck, known as internal jugular vein cannulation.
A second type of catheter is an IVC filter catheter which is a catheter that removes blood clots to help prevent pulmonary embolism. The filter is sometimes permanent or it may be retrievable.
Another use for port catheters is pulmonary artery catheterization, where the catheter is inserted into the pulmonary artery. The catheter has a balloon at its tip, which is inflated. This procedure can help diagnose a wide variety of health ailments as it can show health professionals a patient’s blood volume, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, and cardiac output.
What Other Names Are There For Port Catheters?
There are many names used for port catheters and a variety of models used for different purposes. Some names you may have heard include:
- Venous port system
- Central venous port systems
- Implantable venous access system
- Totally implantable venous device
- Subcutaneous central venous catheters
- central venous access devices
- Subcutaneous central venous ports
- Totally implantable venous access device
- Implantable venous access ports
- Central venous access devices
What is a Port Catheter Fracture Injury?
Some models of port catheters have been shown to be prone to fracture, which is where fragments of the catheter become loose and enter the bloodstream. When this happens, it is usually a sign that the device is defective.
Port catheters should withstand known pressures when used for their intended purpose. When a catheter enters the vein, it is put under stressors from the body, this should be accounted for, and measures should be taken to ensure that the devices are strong. Some models are reinforced through various means, while other manufacturers have failed to ensure that their devices are safe.
For example, the Bard Powerport devices have been shown to suffer from flex fatigue, which is where the catheter loses its durability due to constant flexing, leading to the degradation and fracture of the device.
A fractured device can lead to loose pieces of the catheter entering the bloodstream, which can irritate blood vessels and lead to blood clots, pulmonary embolisms, and other injuries. In some cases, the pieces of the catheter can also reach integral organs such as the lungs or heart, leading to serious injury or death.
Injuries from a fractured catheter can be permanent and life-threatening and often require invasive surgery. These injuries are usually a result of a defective device, and victims deserve compensation for their suffering.
What is Catheter Migration?
Catheter migration occurs when the device remains whole but becomes dislodged from the port without fracturing. If the catheter becomes loose, it can move to other parts of the body but is usually much easier to retrieve and less harmful.
That being said, catheter migration can become incredibly serious, especially in more vulnerable or older patients. Once again, catheter migration is usually a result of a defective device.
Recalled Device – Bard Port Devices
The Bard PowerPort and Bard SlimPort have also faced a large number of complaints over catheter fractures and device failure. There have been reports of the catheter degrading whilst inserted into the vein, causing fragments to fracture and migrate, leading to a number of ailments, including:
- Pulmonary embolism
- Blood infections and sepsis
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Blood clots
- Cardiac Punctures
Bard issued an urgent voluntary recall of all of their The PowerPort duo M.R.I. Implantable Port devices in March 2021. These Bard devices were defective and anyone who suffered an injury may be owed compensation in a product liability claim.
Recalled Device – Penumbra Jet 7 Xtra Flex Catheter
The Penumbra JET 7 Xtra Flex Catheter is a device that was manufactured to remove blood clots in people suffering an acute ischemic stroke. At the end of the catheter is an aspiration pump which acts like a vacuum to remove the blood clot. The device was designed for just a single use.
Penumbra released its first aspiration catheter in 2007, and initially, it was considered to be a revolutionary solution. Several models of the device were manufactured over the years, and the majority of suction thrombectomy procedures in the U.S. used Penumbra devices in the initial years after the catheters were made available.
However, soon after the Jet 7 Xtra Flex Catheter was released, there began to be reports of device failure. There were numerous reports of device fracture, rupture, and complete separation of the catheter tip, leading to vessel damage and subsequent injury or death.
Despite over ten years of complaints, 14 deaths, and more than 200 reports to the FDA of device failure, it took until 2020 for Penumbra to issue a voluntary recall of all of its Jet 7 Catheters.
If you or someone you love has been injured because of a Jet 7 Catheter, then it may have been because of a defective device. In this case, you could be owed compensation in a product liability claim and should contact Holman Schiavone Law, LLC today so that an experienced catheter lawsuit attorney can assess your case and advise you on your next steps.
What Are The Potential Injuries Resulting From a Fractured Catheter?
A fractured catheter can cause serious and life-threatening injuries. Some of the most common injuries resulting from a fractured device include:
Infection and Sepsis
When a catheter fractures, it creates a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to serious infections. The initial signs are swelling and pain around the port, a high temperature, and feelings of breathlessness and dizziness.
Although infections can sometimes be treated with antibiotics, a fractured device must also be removed to prevent further harm. The catheter fragments need to also be found and retrieved, which is often a complicated process.
In the worst cases, the infection can be life-threatening, especially if the infection leads to sepsis.
When a device is fractured, it can irritate the vein wall, leading to blood clots. Blood clots are sometimes easy to treat, but other times they can travel to other parts of the body leading to stroke, heart attack, and other serious conditions.
One serious condition resulting from a blood clot is a pulmonary embolism, which is where the clot becomes stuck in an artery that leads to the lung. Pulmonary embolism can also be a direct result of the catheter fragment itself.
Pulmonary embolism can damage lung tissue which can be life-threatening. Even if the patient is quickly treated, they may be left with permanent damage to their lungs.
Internal Organ Damage
Catheter fragments can sometimes travel through the bloodstream, where they can make their way to important organs such as the heart or lungs. This can cause serious damage and even death.
Catheter fragments must be removed and this involves invasive surgery, which can be particularly harmful to patients who are already undergoing treatment for serious conditions.
Who is Responsible For a Fractured Catheter Injury?
A fractured catheter is usually the result of a defective device. That means that the medical device manufacturer may be liable for the consumer’s injuries.
It is essential that medical device manufacturers are held to the highest standards. They should take every measure possible to reinforce their products, prevent degradation and ensure that they are safe. When manufacturers are made aware of complications, they should act quickly to prevent future consumers. Unfortunately, this does not always happen.
However, most product liability claims are based on strict liability, which places the focus on the product itself and not the actions of the manufacturer. If the medical device was unreasonably dangerous, then the manufacturer may be liable even if they did not behave negligently when creating the product.
This means that even if the manufacturer took reasonable measures to ensure that their product was safe and did not know of any potential dangers, they could still be found liable for their consumer’s injuries.
If you or someone you love suffered an injury from a port catheter fracture, then it is likely that you have a case for compensation. The potential for catheter fracture is unreasonably dangerous.
Unfortunately, claims against large medical device manufacturers are never easy. Medical manufacturers have a wealth of resources at their disposal and will work tirelessly to limit their liability. At Holman Schiavone Law, LLC, we are committed to securing justice for victims of defective medical devices and will ensure that you are not taken advantage of.
How Much is a Claim For a Catheter Fracture Injury Worth?
Every case involving a catheter fracture injury is different and how much you could be owed will depend on the severity of your injuries and the quality of your representation.
At Holman Schiavone Law, LLC, we will draw upon expert testimony to ensure that both your past and future injuries are considered. We take a personalized approach and will work to understand the effect your injuries have had on your life so that we can strive for a settlement that is representative of your experiences.
Your settlement will be comprised of your damages; the damages you may be able to claim include:
Pain and Suffering Damages
Pain and suffering damages are in place to compensate you for the emotional anguish and physical pain that you have suffered as a result of your injuries. They should also reflect the impact on your quality of life.
Pain and suffering damages are notoriously contentious and require a skilled personal injury lawyer who understands how to provide evidence and fight for a settlement that is difficult to dispute.
Medical Bills and Expenses
Fractured catheter injuries are serious and lead to hefty medical bills and expenses. As catheters are used on patients already undergoing treatment, this additional financial strain can be incredibly difficult.
You should not be made to suffer financially because of a defective medical device. An experienced catheter injury attorney will fight for compensation for all of your medical expenses, including hospital bills, medication costs, physiotherapy, childcare while you are in recovery, transport to and from appointments, and more.
It is also integral that your future medical expenses are considered, which often requires evidence from medical experts. An experienced attorney will understand how to evidence future medical expenses to ensure that you are not left out of pocket.
Cases involving medical devices are highly complex, as consumers will already be facing medical treatment and the associated costs. They require the help of an attorney who has experienced navigating product liability claims involving medical devices to untangle your case and determine what preventable damages you have incurred.
If your injuries have resulted in time away from work and lost wages, then this should be included in your compensation. If your injuries are ongoing and are likely to result in future lost wages, then this should also be considered.
In the worst-case scenario, victims of catheter fracture injury lose their life. When this happens, family members may claim compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit.
While no amount of money can begin to heal your grief, it can relieve some of the financial pressures associated with losing a loved one.
At Holman Schiavone Law, LLC, we will take over the entire process so that you are not left with the stress of a legal battle.
Arrange a Free Consultation With an Experienced Catheter Injury Lawyer Today
When a catheter fractures, it is almost always due to a defective device. Catheters should be designed to withstand the pressure associated with their use. When they degrade and fracture, they are unreasonably dangerous to consumers.
It is essential that medical device manufacturers are held to the highest standards. When their devices cause harm, it is important that victims reach out to attorneys who can place pressure on manufacturers and prevent future harm.
At Holman Schiavone Law, LLC, our catheter injury lawyers will get to work quickly to collect evidence, investigate your case, and negotiate with legal teams. We are prepared to fight against even the largest medical device manufacturers and will fight tirelessly to secure justice for our clients.
We pride ourselves on our personalized approach to the attorney-client relationship. We believe that our approach gives us the best chance of securing a settlement that truly represents your past and future expenses and your emotional suffering.
Whether your case involves firm negotiation or litigation, we have what it takes to support you. We are a team of experienced trial lawyers and are willing to take medical manufacturers and their legal teams to court if they are unwilling to provide a just settlement to victims of their defective products.