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Study Finds Over One-Third of Heater-Coolers Contaminated

New study finds that up to one-third of Stockert 3T heater-cooler devices may have been contaminated during the manufacturing process.

A new study suggests that more than one-third of Stӧckert 3T heater-cooler devices may be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as M. Chimaera, legionella and Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM).

Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one developed an infection after surgery with a heater-cooler device, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.

What’s the Problem?

July 6, 2017 – For the study, researchers took water samples from 89 heater-cooler units being used in 23 hospitals in 14 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada, to determine what percentage were contaminated.

They found that 33 machines (37%) tested positive for M. chimaera, while 4 more units were contaminated with Legionella, the bacterium that causes a severe form of pneumonia known as Legionnaires’ disease. Other strains of mycobacteria were also found in many of the units, and 97 of the 653 water samples were determined to be “uninterpretable” because of high levels of bacterial and fungal contamination.

“The extent of contamination from such a rare organism in multiple units from all over the country was surprising,” said John Rihs, lead author of the study. Some of the heater-coolers tested positive for the bacteria “for months,” indicating that the contamination persisted even after the machines had been cleaned. “These results highlight the importance of monitoring the decontamination and maintenance schedules of these devices to minimize the risk of patient harm.”

The results of the study were presented at the 44th Annual Conference of the Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

In October 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an alert to hospitals, advising them to notify patients who had undergone open-chest surgeries involving a Stockert 3T heater-cooler device that they may be at risk for a life-threatening infection. The alert also noted that the devices were “likely contaminated with the rare bacteria Mycobacterium chimaera during manufacturing.”

Do I Have a Heater-Cooler Lawsuit?

The Medical Device Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in heater-cooler lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury and death cases in all 50 states.

Free Case Evaluation: Again, if you were injured after undergoing surgery with a heater-cooler machine, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.

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