Stockert 3T Linked to Bacterial Contamination
More than 250,000 heart operations are performed in the United States each year, and during these operations, a heater-cooler device is used 60% of the time to maintain a constant blood temperature for the patient while the doctors are working. One of these medical devices, the Stockert 3T heater-cooler has been found to carry bacteria within the water of the unit that can lead to infections long after the surgery. A nurse attorney will be aware of any instances where there may be lawsuits involving illnesses from these bacteria.
The Stockert 3T heater-cooler performs a critical function for these lifesaving operations because it stabilizes the blood temperature flowing through the heart and other organs while the operation is progressing. However, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the chances of getting an infection from the machine are between 1/100 to 1/1,000. While many of the infections have been severe, it has not been clearly determined that there is a direct link to any deaths.
History of the Stockert 3T Infections
The Stockert 3T heater-cooler was designed in England by the LivaNova Medical Device Company and is now manufactured in Germany. Research scientists in Switzerland became aware that patients who had undergone heart surgery when a Stockert 3T unit was used to control the temperature of the blood had contracted a bacterial infection with the bacteria Mycobacterium chimera. This finding was later verified by further testing in Germany and the United States, and the CDC and the FDA confirmed that there was a link between the Stockert 3T and the infections.
German scientists took the next step and tested the conditions in the manufacturing plant, and it was found that the contamination actually happened during the manufacturing process. The unfortunate aspect of this is that over 60% of all the heart and open chest surgeries performed used the Stockert 3T medical device which leaves open the possibility of widespread infections for heart patients.
The more troubling information is that the infection usually does not surface immediately, and once it is found it can be challenging to remove. Many times the bacteria can lodge in any heart or body implants, and it is very hard to reach with regular medications designed to treat the bacteria.
Symptoms of Infection
Patients who have had an open heart or open chest surgery probably were exposed to the Stockert 3T heater-cooler, and because of this, the surgery was a success. There is no doubt that the use of the heater-cooler makes this type of operation possible giving many people a new lease on life. However, if you have had this type of operation and you begin to experience night sweats, muscle aches, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, or an unexplained fever it might be necessary to contact your physician to evaluate your condition. This also might be the appropriate time to call a medical malpractice attorney at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C.to gain a sense of any potential claim that you can make if your illness persists.
It has been established through the Center for Disease Control and the FDA that there is a link between the Stockert 3T heater-cooler and bacteria that can cause infection. The government health agencies and the manufacturer are taking steps to alleviate this problem, but unfortunately, the damage has been done.
If you feel that you are at risk after having open heart surgery it is a wise move to contact Eileen Kroll, a nurse and an attorney with the Law Firm of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. and she will be able to answer your questions. Contact her at Cochranlaw.com or call her at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642-4529) for a free consultation. Our law firm never charges a fee unless we win your case.