The “Heater-Cooler” Device
A “heater-cooler” device is an extremely important tool that keeps a patient’s organs at a safe temperature during an invasive procedure such as open-heart surgery. It also helps keep the blood circulating properly while the patient is on the operating table.
The problem is that many people are alleging that contamination of the device led to development of an infection. Heater-cooler devices store water in a reservoir, and this water is key to the proper functioning of the device. However, the reservoir, plaintiffs in nontuberculous mycobacteria lawsuits allege, can be contaminated with the bacterium. When the water gets into the air in an operating room, it spreads bacteria. If that bacteria lands on a patient whose chest is open, the resulting infection can be deadly.
Plaintiffs are levying serious allegations against the manufacturers of heater-cooler devices that have been linked to contamination. Plaintiffs are alleging that the manufacturers negligently brought a dangerously defective product to market, and those same companies failed to properly warn healthcare providers and the public about the potential risks.