Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers: Bacterial Infections and Heart SurgeryApril 4, 2017
Anytime a surgical procedure is performed, there are risks involved. However, some procedures are riskier than others. For example, heart surgery is much more complex and potentially life-threatening than a tonsillectomy. In addition to the inherent risk of the surgery itself, patients also run the risk of contracting a hospital acquired infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there has been a growing concern over potentially life-threatening bacteria that has been associated with a device commonly used during open-heart surgical procedures.
Every year, there are over 250,000 heart bypass procedures done that use a temperature controlled device that helps maintain the patient’s body temperature for the duration of the procedure. The CDC and other health agencies are concerned about a specific device, called the LivaNova PLC Stockert 3T, because there have been instances where the device may have been contaminated with potentially fatal bacteria during the manufacturing process. Mycobacterium chimaera, a species of nontuberculous mycobacterium (NTM), is a slow-growing bacterium that has concerned many public health officials. According to the CDC, close to 60% of bypass procedures performed in the United States use the LivaNova PLC Stockert 3T. As a result, approximately 600,000 patients could be exposed to this dangerous bacteria.
Public Health Officials Call for More Vigilance in Preventing Infections
In response to the number of NTM infections that have been reported recently, the CDC and the Federal Drug Administration have contacted the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and other public health organizations to warn them of the health risks associated with the bacteria. In addition, the CDC will collect the documentation needed to encourage health departments, healthcare facilities, and healthcare providers to be more vigilant in preventing the spread of this life-threatening bacteria.
Moreover, cases of Mycobacterium chimaera can occur, which can cause symptoms ranging from night sweats, muscle aches, and weight gain, to unexplained fevers and death. Fortunately, the infection is not contagious, but patients who have undergone surgery are at particular risk, and symptoms can take months, even years, to appear. According to the CDC, the risk of a patient becoming infected with the bacterium ranges from one in 100 to one in 1,000 in hospitals where the bacteria has infected at least one patient. However, because of the virulent nature of the bacteria, and the potential to be life-threatening, the number of cases to alarming to public health officials.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Surgical Infections
If you or someone you know contracted a life-threatening bacterial infection after having heart surgery, you are urged to contact the reputable Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. If the health care professional responsible for your care was negligent in some way, our dedicated team is on your side to protect your rights and seek justice for your injuries. We will identify the parties responsible and pursue the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our medical malpractice lawyers, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent medical malpractice victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.