Families plan to sue Children's Hospital of New Orleans after heart surgery patients contract rare SSI

Numerous parents are seeking legal action against Children's Hospital of New Orleans after their children contracted rare surgical site infections after undergoing heart surgery at the hospital this summer, reports Fox 8.

About a dozen pediatric patients developed mycobacterium abscessus bacterial infections after undergoing heart surgery between early June and July. The hospital traced the infections to a contaminated heater-cooler unit in a single operating room. The hospital has since replaced the equipment and is covering the cost of treatment for families of the infected patients.

"Our goal and charge is to figure out what Children's Hospital knew, when and what they should have done," plaintiff attorney Lawrence Centola told Fox 8.

The CDC issued a warning about infection risks associated with the heater-cooler unit, known as the Live Nova Stockert 3T, in October 2016.

"We were aware of the report. We had two 'Stockert 3Ts' at the time," Children's Hospital CMO John Heaton, MD, told Fox 8. "One was involved in the [Food and Drug Administration] advisory. They thought it may have come pre-contaminated from the factory with the different type of microbacteria. We got rid of it [and] adopted advanced disinfecting techniques that they advocated at that time."

The families' attorneys are also considering launching a product liability suit against the heater-cooler's manufacturer, according to the report.

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