Cold therapy systems are specifically designed to reduce the presence of pain and swelling following orthopedic trauma and surgery that has occurred within the confines of soft body tissue. Medical devices such as these are often prescribed throughout the duration of an individual’s rehabilitation to ensure proper healing. Of significant concern, however, is their increased propensity for injury in the presence of operator neglect or defective components. Subsequently, prolonged exposure to cold therapy systems may result in extensive nerve damage, chronic pain, and even frost bite.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a cold therapy system, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free confidential case evaluation. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and we can help.
Cold Therapy System Lawsuit Overview
Pain and inflammation combine to create to of the most unwelcome side effects resulting from orthopedic trauma and surgery. Not only do they serve to impede the healing process, but they may lead to a longer, more unpleasant rehabilitation. Cold therapy systems are widely recognized as some of the most effective treatment methods to combat these symptoms of trauma. Cold therapy can also speed up the recovery process, ensuring patients the pain-free life they desire. Cold therapy systems are effective for the following reasons:
- The cold temperatures decrease fluid build up which leads to swelling in the injured body part.
- They slow the release of chemicals that cause both pain and inflammation.
- The cold temperatures decrease pain by reducing the ability of the nerve endings to conduct impulses.
- Cold therapy systems aid in pain relief by limiting the muscle’s ability to maintain contraction, thus reducing muscle spasms.
Depending on the severity of the injury that is to be treated, cold therapy systems are often prescribed throughout the duration of a patient’s rehabilitation.
Cold therapy systems often use two key elements in their healing process, cryotherapy and static compression. Cryotherapy introduces the body to freezing temperatures. The sole purpose for introducing a soft tissue injury to extremely cold temperatures is to slow down the tissue’s metabolic rate and assists in the survival of the injured area. Static compression is often used in conjunction with cryotherapy for the care of soft tissue injuries. Ultimately, compression increases external pressure on the injury to prevent bouts of swelling. This occurs by hindering fluid loss from the vessels in the injured area, making it more difficult for fluids to accumulate.
While these devices have assisted in the rehabilitation of millions of patients, they have recently become the target of a substantial cold therapy system lawsuit. Subsequently, defective cold therapy systems, operator neglect, or improper use may all be responsible for the development of serious side effects. Prolonged exposure to cold therapy systems may result in extensive nerve damage, chronic pain, and even frost bite. Due to the severity and frequency in which these injuries may occur, numerous cold therapy system lawsuits have been filed against negligent manufacturers.
Cold Therapy System Injuries
Cold therapy system lawsuits are currently evaluating the link between these devices and the following injuries:
- Severe skin damage
- Extensive nerve damage
- Muscle and Joint injuries
- Extremity amputation
- Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
- Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)
Recent studies have suggested that the body initiates the hunting response after 10 minutes of cold therapy, at temperatures lower than 49F. The hunting response is a cycle of vasoconstriction (decreased blood flow), then vasodilation (increased blood flow) that increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the tissue. Increased blood flow can slow down the process of cell death, which may limit soft tissue damage. Under typical circumstances, the hunting response would prove essential to tissue health, but with the presence of cold therapy, it only serves to increase pain, inflammation and cell death because of the excess blood flow.
Cold Therapy System FDA Warning
The American Journal of Pain Management conducted a case study in April of 2004 that documented numerous side effects that a patient sustained while receiving repetitive applications of cold therapy. As a result of this incident, and numerous other reports of cold therapy injuries, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) addressed the healthcare community with a Patient Safety Advisory in 2008. The advisory acknowledge the risks associated with cold therapy and served as a reminder to users to implement important safety precautions when using the devices.
Cold Therapy System Lawsuit
Whitney Engler, the plaintiff of a recent cold therapy system lawsuit, underwent a minimally invasive arthroscopic procedure to remove loose bodies in her knee on May 23, 2003. She was prescribed a Polar Care 500 device to facilitate her recovery and rehabilitation. According to court documents, Engler’s doctor recommended that she used the device because it was better than a bag of ice. She was then instructed to use the Polar Care 500 as much as possible following the surgery to minimize swelling, including sleeping with the device in place around the knee, in order to maximize her chances of making a full recovery.
However, on the morning of June 12, 2003, she woke up to find a large black eschar (dead skin) underneath where the Polar Care 500 pad was placed. As a result Engler was subjected to numerous medical procedures in order to minimize the scar over the knee. She will have to have two additional revision surgeries in the future to maximize the function and appearance of her knee. Doctors later diagnosed her condition as residual neuropathy (hyperesthesia and dysathesia).
Following a two month cold therapy system lawsuit, Engler was awarded $12, 696, 220 for the injuries she had sustained as a result of her doctors neglect.
Similar Cold Therapy Systems
Cold therapy system lawsuits are currently evaluating the following devices for similar injury risks:
- Donjoy Iceman Cold Therapy
- Breg Polar Care 500
Do I Have a Cold Therapy System Lawsuit?
The trial lawyers at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP have decades of experience navigating through complex legislative and regulatory issues and litigating high stakes cases all over the nation. Our law firm focuses on the representation of plaintiffs in cold therapy system lawsuits. We are currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Again, if you or a loved one has been injured by a cold therapy system, you should contact our lawyers immediately by clicking the link below or calling toll free 1-(949) 557-5800. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and we can help.