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Port-a-Cath Injuries

By Mia Wang, Legal Intern

By Mia Wang

What is a Port-a-Cath?

A port-a-cath is used to give fluids, blood transfusions, chemotherapy, antibiotics, food, and other drugs through the blood vessels (intravenously).

This device sits under the skin on the chest. It’s usually made out of silicone, and the entrance of this device allows medication through, then seals itself shut.

The catheter runs through the port (entrance of the port-a-cath), allowing healthcare workers to thread it into large veins, as this allows the patient to receive the fluids quicker.

What Does a Port-A-Cath Look Like?

Port-a-cath typically looks like a small bump on the skin. They aren’t very noticeable.

What Are The Types of Port-A-Caths?

There are three main types of port-a-caths, the single lumen, the double lumen, and the power port.

The single lumen is the most common type, with only one point of access. It’s typically used for patients receiving only one form of IV therapy.

The double lumen has two points of access to a vein. It is usually triangular shaped and is used for people who are getting two IV therapies simultaneously, or need to receive other treatment at the same time of the therapies.

Lastly, the power port/injectable is used for CT scans with contrast dye.

Risks of Port-a-Caths

  • Infections
  • Blood Clots
  • Blocked Line
  • Internal Bleeding
  • Constant Pain
  • Sepsis
  • Fractured pieces travel to other organs such as the lungs and heart
  • Death

What are the Port-a-Caths Dangers? Do I have a legal claim?


Port-a-cath devices, if crafted from poor materials or improperly positioned, can lead to complications such as redness, swelling, or oozing. The surrounding tissue is particularly vulnerable to infection, a frequent risk associated with the insertion of these devices. Early detection of an infection can often be managed effectively with antibiotics. However, delayed detection or treatment might require the surgical removal of the device.

Blood Clots

Patients with port-a-caths are at risk of serious complications such as thrombosis, which is the formation of a blood clot within a blood vessel, and pulmonary embolism, where a clot blocks an artery in the lung. Both conditions are life-threatening and require immediate medical intervention. The likelihood of such clotting events may be increased if the port is constructed from defective materials.

Cracking and Pitting (Deterioration) and Fracturing

If the catheter contains an excessive amount of barium sulfate (due to defective products/materials), this can create stress points within the catheter, increasing the likelihood of fractures. After the fracture occurs, micro pieces of the catheter may travel to other parts of the body such as the lungs and heart. These catheter fractures can lead to leakage or complete breaks, potentially resulting in internal bleeding, organ damage, or tears in blood vessels. Medical consequences can include clotting, cardiac arrhythmias, and pulmonary embolisms, all of which can be life-threatening and may result in death. Emergency surgical intervention is typically necessary to remove and replace the damaged catheter. Additional procedures may also be required to address complications in affected organs. These defects have been subject to litigation.

Why is My Port-a-Cath Leaking?

If your port-a-cath is leaking, it may be indicative of defective manufacturing or poor product quality, which should never be the case with a medical device intended for critical care. A leaking port-a-cath suggests a compromise in the integrity of the device, potentially due to subpar materials or flawed design. This may become a legal matter for injuries.

Such product defects not only breach the duty of care owed by the manufacturer to the patient but also expose the patient to substantial health risks, including infection, the need for additional invasive procedures to reverse the issue, and costly medical bills/expenses.

If you are experiencing a leak in your port-a-cath and there is evidence to suggest that the device’s malfunction is due to manufacturing defects or negligent quality control, there may be grounds for a legal claim against the manufacturer. It is essential to document the malfunction, seek immediate medical attention to prevent further harm.

Who is Responsible for Port-a-Cath injuries?

If the Port-a-Cath injury is due to defectiveness, the manufacturing company who made the product may be liable. The manufacturing companies are responsible for the design, development, testing, assembling, supplying, manufacturing, and packaging of the product.

What Should I Do if My Port-a-Cath is Defective?

Seek medical attention immediately. If you or a loved one believes this happened due to a defective product, you can consult with us confidentially for any rights in a free consultation.

What May Be Included in My Settlement?

Many factors will determine a settlement if the Port-a-Cath injury is related to defects, such as (but not limited to):

  • Physical/bodily harm
  • Permanent and/or life-altering injuries
  • Past and future pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement and scarring of body
  • Past, present, and future medical bills/expenses
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium to non-injured spouse
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