The Bair Hugger forced-air warming blanket and Heater Cooler machines are used to regulate a patient’s body temperature during major surgery. In recent years, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed by people who say these devices can contribute to severe infections.
Need a Texas Heart Surgery Infection Lawyer? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or a loved one was diagnosed with an infection after open heart surgery, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit in Texas.
FDA: Infections Linked to Heater-Cooler Devices in Heart Surgery
The FDA has issued a Safety Communication to warn about the risk of infection from heater-cooler devices, which are commonly used in open heart surgery. The devices consist of a water tank and a system that regulates the temperature of a patient’s blood during cardiopulmonary bypass. Water never directly contacts a patient. However, when non-sterile tap water is used, the system can be contaminated with a common bacteria known as non-tuberculosis mycobacteria (NTM) or the bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s Disease. Evaporated water can “aerosolize” from the exhaust vents and spray bacteria onto a patient during heart surgery.
Outbreaks of Mycobacterial Infections After Heart Surgery
The link between heater-cooler devices and mycobacterial infections was first reported in Europe by researchers who were investigating six heart surgery patients who developed the same type of infection. In October 2015, the FDA warned that 32 cases of infections or bacterial contamination in a heater-cooler device had been reported since 2010, with 25 of those reports submitted in 2015. Six hospitals have reported outbreaks in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Iowa. However, because the infections are hard to diagnose, it is possible that other outbreaks were never reported.
Open Heart Surgery Infections
Heart surgery patients who develop mycobacterial infections may not show symptoms for up to 4 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The bacteria is slow-growing, symptoms are non-specific, and misdiagnosis can delay treatment. These symptoms may include:
- Pain, redness, heat, or pus around a surgical incision
- Night sweats
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Weight loss
- Failure to thrive in infants
Need a Heart Surgery Infection Lawyer in Texas?
Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged.
Collen’s amazing success in the courtroom and well known dedication to his clients has earned him the recognition of his peers as one of The Top Trial Lawyers in Texas.”
The Clark Firm has assembled a team of trial lawyers with more than 100 years experience, participation in over 600 jury trials and $260 million in verdicts and/or settlements. Please use the form below to contact our Texas heart surgery infection lawyers for a free lawsuit review.