Surgery is a very controversial idea, even today with all the technological and medical advances made in the field. This is because, even if in otherwise perfect health, there is no guarantee that the surgery will go according to plan. Such an incident has been alluded to as negligent. This happened after the patient, a Pennsylvania business owner, died of a rare heart infection linked to a medical device used in his open heart surgery just prior to his death and this claim related to medical malpractice.
The infection the man suffered from resided in his heart and it is called nontuberculous mycobacteria, or NTM. NTM is very rare but is linked to the use of a heater-cooler device used to control patients’ blood temperature during open heart surgery. The man had previously undergone an open heart surgery at York Hospital. As of late last year, 11 Pennsylvania people had been reported to be suffering from the infection and all of these people were linked to the hospital where the man had been treated. It is believed that the infection came into existence when the patient’s blood came into contact with the ‘aerosolized’ NTB in the surgical-aid device.
Health officials claim that NTB is a slow-moving infection and most people do not see signs of any problem for months or even years from contraction. It has been reported that York Hospital and Penn State-Hershey (one of which who is a named defendant in this case) ended up notifying 3,600 open heart surgeries they might have been exposed to the infection. Those patients had open heart surgery during a four-year widow between 2011 and the time when the hospitals replaced their heater-coolers they were using with a different brand. The victim in this case lived 11 months after his open heart surgery at York Hospital.
It is undetermined at this time if the man was one of 3,600 patients notified about the potential NTB infection after his open-heart surgery. This case is a great example of why medical practitioners, hospitals and medical devices companies are held to a standard of care and if not met, may pay for the hurt they have caused their patients and families.
Source: pennlive.com, “Founder of York County Business died of rare heart infection linked to surgical device,” David Wenner, June 27, 2016