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California Hospital Warning Heart Patients About Infection Risk

A California hospital is warning patients that underwent heart surgery that they could have been exposed to a potentially-deadly infection. Pasadena’s Huntington Hospital used a medical device during open-heart surgery that has been linked to dozens of infections.

As we previously discussed on this San Diego Injury Blog, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) previously warned heart surgery patients that the Stöckert 3T heater-cooler device used in open-heart surgery was potentially contaminated with the rare bacteria Mycobacterium chimaera during manufacturing.

According to the CDC, more than 250,000 heart bypass procedures using heater-cooler devices are performed in the United States each year. The 3T heater-cooler device associated with the infections accounts for 60 percent of the heater-cooler devices used in the country.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Huntington Hospital sent letters to all patients who underwent open heart surgery in the last four years. Although the hospital stated that it is not aware of any patients being infected, the FDA recommended that hospitals using the device notify all patients that may be at risk.

The heater-cooler devices were used by other facilities across the state. Although they did not reveal the name of the hospital, California public health officials said they had received reports of two heart surgery patients who contracted the bacteria. The fate of the patients is also unclear.

The CDC has confirmed infections in 28 heart surgery patients in the United States. Across the globe, 12 patients have died. Infections can take months to cause symptoms, which include night sweats, muscle aches, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, or unexplained fever.

If you or someone you care about has suffered serious harm due to a dangerous or defective medical device, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego product liability lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. Our legal team has successfully represented clients against manufacturers and distributors of medical devices for more than 30 years.