A California woman has been awarded more than $12 million in compensatory and punitive damages after in a lawsuit filed over problems suffered during treatment with a Polar Care 500 cold therapy machine.
The complaint was filed by Whitney Engler against Breg International and against Dr. David Chao for product liability and medical malpractice, alleging that the Polar Care 500 therapy unit manufactured by Breg and prescribed by Dr. Chao caused her to suffer damage to the tissue in her legs.
In late July, a San Diego Jury awarded Engler $5 million in compensatory damages and a week later another $7.5 million in punitive damages was added, resulting in a total award of more than $12 million in damages.
The Polar Care 500 is a cold therapy unit designed to treat pain and swelling by exposing the injured areas to hours of heat and cold. The machines are supposed to work in a number of ways.
Cold therapy restricts bloodflow to the injured area, slows down nerve impulses that tell you that you are in pain and also works as distraction pain, pulling the mind’s focus away from the injury to the sensation of cold. However, there have been a number of reports involving problems with cold therapy, where the machines have caused frostbite, skin damage, nerve damage, and a risk of limb amputation.
According to allegations raised in Engler’s the cold therapy lawsuit, the Polar Care 500 caused the skin on her legs to die. As a result of the injuries allegedly caused by the cold therapy, the former high school track star has required multiple reconstructive surgeries.
The lawsuit is one of a growing number of complaints filed over cold therapy machines, also known as cryotherapy. In addition to Polar Care lawsuits against Breg, a number of similar products have faced claims, including DeRoyal Cold Therapy Units, DonJoy Iceman, EBIce, Aircase Cryo Cuff, Game Ready and others.
This is believed to be one of the first verdict in the United States for damages from cold therapy or ice therapy machine.