David R. Inners, who owned a business in Hanover, Pa., and was also a bicycling enthusiast, died of a rare heart infection that has been connected to a device used during open heart surgery.
His name was revealed in a lawsuit. Inners, 62, was the owner of DRI Machine Shop Inc., which he opened in 1992 after working as a plant manager for a packaging company, according to his obituary. He died in November 2015.
Inners is among the people who came down with a rare infection, nontuberculous mycobacteria, or NTM. The infection has been associated with a type of heater-cooler device used to control patients’ blood temperature during open heart surgery.
The lawsuit is against WellSpan Health and WellSpan’s York Hospital (where Inners had the surgery), and the Sorin Group, which manufactured the heater-cooler device.
It’s believed the infection arose after heater-coolers, which circulate water and have an exhaust, caused NTM bacteria to become “aerosolized.”
York Hospital and Penn State-Hershey ended up notifying 3,600 open heart surgery patients that 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.
York Hospital has said its cleaning “didn’t align perfectly” with guidelines for maintaining the heater-cooler. York Hospital and Penn State-Hershey have replaced their heater-cooler devices with a different brand.
Health officials said NTM infections are slow-growing and it can take months or even years before the patient notices symptoms. According to the lawsuit, Inners had his surgery in late 2014, about 11 months before he died.
The medical malpractice and product liability lawsuit names the plaintiffs as Wendy Woods, listed as Inners’ longtime companion and fiancee, and Benjamin Inners, the son of David Inners and the sole beneficiary of his estate.
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