A dangerous and potentially life threatening bacterial infection has been linked to the use of certain heater-cooling units (HCU). These devices are used during surgeries such as open heart surgery, lung surgery or liver transplant surgery to regulate a patient’s body temperature. They work by pumping water to external heat exchangers or warming/cooling blankets through closed circuits. Though the water does not come into direct contact with the patient, water does vent from the back of the HCU. If contaminated water is vented, the contaminated bacteria can become airborne and circulate the room, eventually coming in contact with the patient. This is of particular concern during procedures where a patient’s chest cavity is open.
The FDA has become aware that heater-cooler devices have been associated with Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) infections. NTM organisms are widespread in nature and can be found in tap water. While they are typically not harmful, they can cause infections in some patients, particularly if they find their way into the patient’s chest cavity.
Patients with NTM infections may show very few symptoms early on after surgery, and since NTM infections are rare, doctors may not have screened for them. Signs and symptoms of a possible NTM infection may include:
Redness, heat or pus at the surgical site
If you or your loved one has undergone an open heart surgery, lung surgery, liver transplant surgery or other similar procedure at metro Detroit or Michigan hospital and are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is recommended that you consult with your health care provider.
If you or your loved one believes they suffered an NTM infection as a result of a Sorin 3T Heater-Cooler Unit, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Metro Detroit Injury Lawyers today for a free evaluation of your case at 248-430-8929.