People who have had open heart surgery since January 1, 2012 may be at
risk of potentially deadly infections. The Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) has issued a health alert notice regarding the risk
of contracting non-tuberculous mycobacterium (NTM) infection from Stockert
heater-cooler devices used during open-heart surgery.
https://www.cdc.gov/hai/outbreaks/heater-cooler.html. Testing by the manufacturer as early as 2014 indicates that these devices
were contaminated at the time of manufacture with this rare mycobacteria.
Stockert heater-cooler devices have been used in as many as 60% of the
250,000 open-heart procedures that have been performed annually in the
United States since 2011.
NTM infections can take months and sometimes years to become symptomatic.
People who have had open-heart surgery since January 1, 2012 should consult
their doctors. If they are experiencing symptoms associated with infection
such as night sweats, weight loss, muscle aches, fatigue, or unexplained
fever, they should seek medical attention right away. While the overall
risk for an open-heart surgery patient to contract this infection is likely
less than 1%, patients with artificial valves or prosthetic products implanted
in their hearts are at greater risk.
Mount Carmel and possibly other central Ohio health care providers began
notifying patients and doctors of this potential risk late last year.
If you or a loved one have received a notification, you should speak with
your doctor as soon as possible.
People who have suffered serious injury or who have lost a loved one due
to an infection from one of these contaminated devices may have a valid
product liability or medical negligence claim for their damages. Rourke
& Blumenthal is currently investigating claims for people who have
been harmed in this manner.