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The Wagners - A Serious Injury Law Firm blog shares Personal Injury stories and opinions relevant to Halifax, Nova Scotia residents. Let us know what you think.

Heart Surgery Infection: Heater/Cooler Infections Found in Canada

by | Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Two major Canadian hospitals have begun the process of notifying thousands of their patients who have undergone open-heart surgery since 2012 of the possible risk of contracting non-tuberculosis mycobacteria (NTM) from heater-cooler devices that are used to control a patient’s blood temperature during surgery.

The two hospitals, Montreal’s Heart Institute and the St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg have notified over 12,000 patients of their potential exposure to the bacteria. Another hospital in Quebec has identified two patients that have contracted the bacteria.

At present, no testing or screening is in place to determine if a patient who has undergone open-heart surgery has been exposed to the bacteria during surgery. The infection can only be detected once the symptoms associated with NTM begin to develop. In many cases, the symptoms may take up to 4 years before the infection becomes apparent.

In the United States, the Centre for Disease Control issued a study which showed nearly half of the patients exposed to NTM had died as a result of the infection. The high death rate is attributed to the lengthy delay for the symptoms to manifest.

Health Canada have previously issued an advisory concerning the use of the heater/cooler device and has updated its website to include a list of symptoms associated with the infection. High fever, sweating at night, aches in joints, aches in muscles, general fatigue, loss of weight and inflammation of the area where the surgical incision was made have all been identified as problems associated with the bacterial infection. Health Canada advises that any patient who has undergone open-heart surgery since 2012 should undergo a full blood test if they have any of the symptoms that are related to exposure of NTM.

It is expected that in addition to the hospitals in Montreal and Winnipeg, other hospitals where open-heart surgical procedures are performed may similarly advise its patients of the risk that they may have contracted NTM.

Wagners is currently researching the issues posed by these medical devices and the adverse reports of infections post-surgery. Wagners will make a determination whether to file a class action proceeding against the manufacturer(s) of the devices.

If you or a family member have had open-heart surgery in Halifax or any other hospital in Canada and believe you have been exposed to the contaminated heater/cooler device, please contact the lawyers at Wagners to discuss your situation.

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Sam M
Sam M
16:11 19 Jan 18
Dyana was so kind to help me and respond to my query within 24h even though they do not pursue the specific class action I was looking for. She sent me few links by email. Thank you Dyana.
linda frausell
linda frausell
01:21 16 May 17
I have dealt with Wagner and Associates over the years and have received great advice,support and results . Their team is very respectful and show they care. You can trust them to take care of you and they always have your best interest in hand. I would definetly recommend them .
frank slaunwhite
frank slaunwhite
16:29 03 May 17
Ray Wagner and his legal team have been representing my niece and I for many years. They have been honest and quick to respond to all our needs in a professional manner. I highly recommend Wagners Law Firm and appreciate their caring approach.Thanks
Missy Day
Missy Day
12:03 06 Oct 16
I can't speak highly enough about the lawyers at Wagners who represented me for injuries from not one but two motor vehicle accidents. They were very professional and approachable. I was kept informed of all steps in the process and all of my inquiries were responded to and dealt with very quickly. The lawyers are knowledgeable and showed great empathy for what I was going through. I would recommend this firm to anyone!
Nicholas Gordon
Nicholas Gordon
11:30 06 Oct 16
I contacted Wagners about a motor vehicle accident.I was able to speak with someone right away. The staff were very pleasant and helpful.I received a response about pursuing a case the next day.I would highly recommend this firm.
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