The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has growing concerns that approximately 600,000 heart surgery patients could be infected with a potentially life threatening bacteria. The risk stems from contaminated heating and cooling devices commonly used during open heart surgery. Mycobacterium chimaera is a potentially fatal bacterium that has been found in heart surgery patients where the LivaNovaPLC Stockert 3T heater-cooler device was used to regulate the patient’s body temperature during their open-heart surgical procedure.
The bacteria are slow growing and can take months or even years to manifest. Symptoms of a Mycobacterium chimaera bacterial infection include night sweats, muscle aches, weight loss, fatigue, unexplained fever, and death. The CDC reports that 60% of the 250,000 heart surgeries performed in the United States each year use the LivaNovaPLC Stockert 3T heating-cooling devices. The contamination of the devices is believed to have taken place during the manufacturing of the equipment.
The CDC has alerted the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, state health departments, healthcare facilities, and healthcare providers across the country to the potentially deadly contamination of this equipment and is urging them to inform the public. The bacterial infection is not contagious, but its potential for fatal complications requires aggressive intervention. The symptoms of the infection can appear long after surgery has been performed and leave victims unaware of the connection to their previous procedure.
Twenty-four cases of Mycobacterium chimaera infections have been reported in Pennsylvania so far. Twelve infections were reported at WellSpan York Hospital, five in Penn State Hershey Medical Center, and three at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. The CDC estimates that there is a one in 100 to one in 1,000 chance of patients in these hospitals being infected with the bacteria.
Pennsylvania Medical Product Liability Lawsuits
Pennsylvania product liability laws give victims harmed by a defective product the right to sue the manufacturer of the product for injuries and damages. In the case of the bacterial infections stemming from the use of the LivaNovaPLC heating and cooling devices during open heart surgery, victims may be entitled to compensation. If the equipment was contaminated during the manufacturing process, the manufacturer could be held liable in a medical product liability lawsuit.
The hospitals where the heart surgeries were performed could also be held liable for negligence in a medical malpractice lawsuit if they failed to take precautions after they were made aware of the possible contamination of the heating-cooling devices. Along with the CDC alert issued to hospitals and healthcare agencies, LivaNovaPLC sent out a warning of a possible contamination with instructions on how to properly sterilize the devices between patients. Failure to act on these warnings could leave the hospital liable for injuries and damages.
Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Victims of Defective Medical Devices Claim Compensation
The risk of infection accompanies all surgical procedures, but if you become infected due to the negligence of the medical facility or from a defective medical device, you may be entitled to compensation. The highly skilled team of Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC are committed to helping clients claim the maximum amount of compensation available for their injuries.
Call us at 215-569-8488 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are located in Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Delaware County, Wilmington, and Haddonfield where we represent clients throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey.