Irwin Mitchell Representing People Affected By Potentially Deadly Bug Mycobacterium Chimaera
Product liability experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell continue to act for patients affected by contaminated heater-cooler devices used during cardiac surgery.
A field safety notice alert informed health officials and patients that the machinery may be contaminated with a deadly bug, Mycobacterium Chimaera (MC).
The medical equipment at the source of the infection is a machine, known as the Sorin 3T, used to heat and cool blood when circulated outside of the body during life- saving heart surgery.
It has come to light that a deadly infection can develop in the heater-cooler machines if they are not fully sterilised. The infection is then dispersed in tiny water droplets landing on any exposed tissue.
The infection is very rare but potentially very serious, and people can die if they do not receive the appropriate and very specialised treatment.
However, the symptoms can take a long time, possibly even several years, to appear. There are various symptoms associated with the infection, which may not come to light immediately. The NHS advises that the symptoms can include:
- A fever – including feeling hot and shivery or having a temperature
- Unexplained weight loss
- Cough or increasing shortness of breath
- Night sweats
- Joint or muscle pain
- Feeling sick or vomiting
- Feeling unusually tired
- Pain, redness, warmth or pus around the operation site.
The NHS advises patients who are experiencing these symptoms not to panic or seek emergency treatment as these symptoms can have many different causes and the chances of contracting the infection is quite rare.
Experts at Irwin Mitchell are encouraging patients who have undergone heart surgery since 2007, and who feel they may be experiencing any of the symptoms, to contact their GP or health care advisors for testing. Specialist tests are required to establish whether Mycobacterium Chimaera has been contracted in patents who are feeling unwell so that treatment can be sought promptly.
Expert Opinion“Even though the MC infection has been known about since 2014, even now it is often not tested for, goes undiagnosed and is therefore not properly treated. It is very important for patients who feel they may have some or all of these symptoms to get specialist testing. The earlier this can be identified, the more likely patients will receive optimised treatment and the better their chances of making a full recovery.
We are continuing to act for patients who have been affected by this infection and have a confirmed diagnosis of MC. Some of our clients have sustained very serious, long term and debilitating symptoms requiring long term treatment.
The manufacturer of the machines has now introduced a revised disinfection process. This is reassuring, and it is particularly important for our clients and for future cardiac patients to know that steps have been taken to reduce the risk.” Natalie Truman - Solicitor
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