A 24-year-old woman was found dead inside a cryochamber at a cryotherapy salon where she worked in Nevada. According to one local news article, the woman is believed to have suffocated inside one of the ice chambers at the salon.
In whole-body cryotherapy, a customer stands in a cylindrical or sauna-like chamber chilled to extreme sub-zero temperatures, often between minus 200 and minus 250 degrees Fahrenheit. The duration of time a person remains in the chamber varies, but it is generally very short — between two and three minutes. Users of cryotherapy tout its supposed healing properties, but at the present time it is unclear if the therapy is any more effective at reducing inflammation and accelerating muscle recovery than cold-water baths or traditional ice packs.
Authorities believe that the salon manager was stuck in the cryochamber for at least 10 hours before being found by other employees of the salon. Besides death, cryotherapy carries risks of frostbite and increased heart and breathing rates. As body temperatures drop, cryotherapy patients may also experience confusion, a loss of coordination, and even cardiac arrest, when the heart ceases to function properly and a person stops breathing and loses consciousness.
Cryotherapy advocates insist that the therapy is safe when proper protocols are instituted, and most salons require that patients be supervised at all times while in the chamber. But doctors and scientists generally agree that more research is needed to determine how risky the therapy is, and whether it is actually superior to traditional icing treatments.
Cryotherapy Equipment Manufacturers and Salon Operators May Be Liable for Treatment Related Injuries
While cryotherapy has been popular in Europe for some time, only recently has it begun to catch on in the United States. One reason that cryotherapy is becoming more popular in the United States is because many prominent athletes swear by the treatment. Even some college athletic teams have adopted cryotherapy, believing that it may reduce recovery time for muscle injuries and inflammation.
Since cryotherapy is a relatively new treatment, much is still not known about its risks and benefits. For one, it is difficult to say which state and federal agencies monitor the machines used in cryotherapy and the salons that operate them. In the case of the Nevada woman found dead inside a cryochamber, the salon involved lacked at least one business license, and several state agencies denied having oversight of the operation.
What is known about cryotherapy is that several precautions must be taken to avoid injury. Patients inside a cryochamber have to be supervised at all times by salon staff. Gloves, slippers, masks, earmuffs, and other types of protective wear may have to be worn during treatment, and they must be dry before entering a chamber, or frostbite may occur. Finally, patients must always be warned of the potential side effects or risks of receiving cryotherapy treatment, and chamber operators should be trained to recognize malfunctions and possible patient injuries.
Beyond precautions taken within a salon, certain precautions should also be taken when manufacturing cryotherapy chambers. Some chambers have automatic shut off devices and noise alarms, and still others have temperature regulators and time controls. However, not all cryochambers come equipped with all of these safety features.
Even though it is unclear who oversees cryotherapy salons and treatment, and what kinds of guidelines exist to ensure safe operating practices, salons and manufacturers must still take reasonable care when providing therapy or designing and manufacturing cryotherapy equipment. If a manufacturer designs a defective device, or the machine is manufactured improperly, the manufacturer and salon may be liable if a person is injured while receiving the treatment. Furthermore, even if the chambers have been safely designed and manufactured, if a patient is injured by a salon employee’s failure to take reasonable care while providing the treatment, the salon and employee may be liable to the patient for damages.
Have You Been Injured at a Salon or Similar Service Setting?
Have you been injured while receiving treatment in any sort of salon-like setting? Whether it be cryotherapy or some other specialized salon treatment, you may be eligible for compensation for any injuries you experienced. At Moll Law Group, we believe that education is the best means of ensuring safety with the products people use or the services people receive. That’s why our attorneys focus so much on telling people about their rights as consumers. But sometimes people are injured no matter how much we try to improve public safety. When this happens, the lawyers at Moll Law Group are uniquely positioned to provide you with the experienced, strategic, and individual representation you deserve.
For a free consultation, call (312) 462-1700.
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