The lawsuit was filed by Whitney Engler against Breg International and Dr. David Chao, the former head team physician for the San Diego Chargers. Engler claimed she suffered extensive tissue damage after Cho prescribed her the Breg Polar Care 500 Cold Therapy machine following surgery to repair a misaligned patella.
Also known as cryotherapy, cold therapy machines are designed to help regain a patient’s flexibility and reduce post-surgical pain. The devices work by restricting blood flow to the injured area, which slows down nerve impulses that signal pain. However, when used too long, cold therapy units have been associated with frostbite, skin damage, nerve damage, and a risk of limb amputation.
Engler’s lawsuit alleged that the Breg Polar Care machine caused the skin on her legs to die, and that as a result of her injuries, the former high school track star required at least 12 reconstructive surgeries to close the wound and reduce scarring.
The California 4th District Court of Appeal ruled last week that the verdict was not supported by science and that the jury award was excessive. The decision reverses a July 2012 verdict in which Engler was awarded $5 million in compensatory damages and $7.5 million in punitive damages.
Tragically, Engler was shot to death by her roommate in a murder-suicide three years after the verdict. However, the lawsuit has continued through her estate.
The case is one of a number of similar complaints filed over injuries alleged from cold therapy machines. In addition to Polar Care suits against Breg, product liability lawsuits have been filed over DeRoyal Cold Therapy Units, DonJoy Iceman, EBIce, Aircase Cryo Cuff, Game Ready and others.
Source: The San Diego Tribune