WellSpan York Hospital is warning patients who received an open heart surgical procedure between October 1, 2011 and July 24, 2015 of a potential risk of infection due to bacterial exposure. The hospital has identified the source of the bacteria as a “heater-cooler” device used during open heart surgeries. The infection is brought on by the exposure to a nontuberculous mycobacterium, or NTM.
The York Hospital was alerted to the potential risk by a study recently done by the Clinical Infections Diseases Journal based upon data collected in Europe. Shortly after the study was published, York Hospital found several patients who did have the type of infections mentioned in the study. The hospital contacted the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Department of Health to help with their investigation. The investigation concluded that the infections found at York Hospital were likely caused by the heater-cooler units.
York Hospital Notifies Patients and Doctors of Infection Risk – More Warnings Could Come
As a result of the investigation, York Hospital has identified at least eight cases of people who contracted an NTM infection, four of whom have already died. WellSpan York Hospital also sent letters to 1,300 other patients who may have been exposed to NTM bacteria over the last four years. WellSpan is offering to provide free medical care to anyone who contracted an NTM infection as a result of open heart surgery at York Hospital over the last four years and has set up a website with more information.
Symptoms of NTM Infection Include:
- Redness, Heat or Pus Around The Surgical Incision
- weight loss
- Night Sweats
- Joint Pain
- Muscle Pain
- Loss of Energy
Infections The Result of Improper Cleaning Practices
During the joint investigation, it was determined that WellSpan York Hospital’s cleaning practices were not “aligned perfectly” with the recommendations of the device manufacturer. Simply put, they were not cleaning the equipment properly, according to specs. While the manufacturer has notified York Hospital of enhanced cleaning procedures, the hospital decided to replace all their equipment last July.
Do You Have a Defective Product Case or a Medical Malpractice Claim? Find Out Now
If you have received a letter from WellSpan York Hospital notifying you of a potential risk of infection due to their carelessness, please contact Hander Henning & Rosenberg right away to discuss your legal rights to compensation. You may be able to file a medical malpractice or a defective medical product (product liability) claim. There are time constraints to file, so get your free consultation today.