January 26, 2017

Potentially deadly bacteria found in medical devices used in open heart surgery

The Medical University of South Carolina recently announced as many as 3,000 patients may be at risk of infection after learning medical equipment used in open heart surgeries since 2012 tested positive for potentially deadly bacteria. While no victims have stepped forward yet, the revelation could means patients may have claims against the medical device maker and hospital, some potentially worth significant compensation.

Experts say the Mycobacterium chimaera discovered in the heater-cooler, a device used to control a patient’s blood pressure, is slow growing and it may take years for some victims to show symptoms. MUSC officials warned patients who may be affected by the discovery should immediately seek medical evaluations to find out whether they are at risk.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the heater-cooler devices made by LivaNova PLC were contaminated at the time of manufacturer. An estimated 180 patients suffered complications from January 2010 to February 2016 with at least 9-deaths attributed to infections attributed to the contamination, according to reports.

Defective medical device lawsuits

In October 2016, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued its own warning to hospitals about the heater-coolers, months after the manufacturer pulled approved sterilization procedures for the device. However, MUSC continued to use the heater-coolers for two-months, putting patients’ lives at risk.

A similar outbreak occurred at another hospital in Greenville, South Carolina. An estimated 14-people suffered serious infections, including nine who ultimately passed away. Attorneys for those victims filed suit against the hospital and the device maker, alleging LivaNova knew or should have known about the potential risk for bacterial infection.

Furthermore, patients can also file suit against hospitals if the facility acted in a similarly negligent manner. Under the law, doctors and hospitals must exercise a standard of care to ensure patients are not placed at undue risk of injury.

Medical injury lawyer

If you or a loved one suffered complications such night sweats, muscle aches, weight loss, fatigue, or fever after undergoing open heart surgery with the Sorin Stockert 3T, contact The Cochran Firm, D.C. to discuss your case. Our team of experienced medical injury lawyers can investigate the cause of your injuries and hold wrongdoers accountable for negligent conduct.