Jury Awards $7.5M in Damages in Polar Care 500 Lawsuit

Whitney Engler sued Breg international and Dr. David Chao after she says her skin began to die after using the product he prescribed called Polar Care 500.


A San Diego jury has just reached a verdict on punitive damages in the malpractice case that's been underway against Dr. David Chao for the past several months.

The jury concluded that Dr. Chao and a San Diego medical device company should pay a former high school track star $7.5 million in punitive damages, for a total verdict including the previously awarded compensatory damages of more than $12 million.

NBC 7 investigates first reported this story last Thursday.

Whitney Engler sued Breg international and Dr. Chao after she says her skin began to die after using the product he prescribed called Polar Care 500.

The jury decided Dr. Chao's negligence was a "substantial factor" in causing "harm" to Engler.

The jury also believed Breg was negligent in the design of the Polar Care 500 device, which acts as a consistent cold therapy for injuries and surgical wounds.

Engler had to have numerous reconstructive surgeries on her leg and says she will need two more.

We haven't been able to reach, Chao's attorney Robert Frank, but last week he gave us this statement:

"Everyone agreed that the surgery doctor Chao performed on Ms. Engler was successful as she quickly returned to full function of her knee and returned to sports, qualifying for CIF competition.

This case was primarily a products liability case in which Dr. Chao used the Breg company Polar Care 500 device as recommended and exactly like thousands of other doctors nationwide, including Ms. Engler's expert's own partner."

Breg International hasn't responded to our interview requests, but issued this statement Tuesday.

"We cannot comment on the specifics of this case; however, we can share that cold therapy devices have a strong and consistent track record of safely and effectively helping millions of people treat their injuries. Like all medical treatment options, it is important that cold therapy devices are used in accordance with instructions from the physician and manufacturer's label to ensure safe and effective results."

NBC 7 San Diego also asked the FDA, the agency in charge of monitoring the safety of medical products, for a comment. It has declined comment.

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