Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against the medical device maker Sorin Group, claiming its Stöckert 3T heater-cooler device spreads bacteria called nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM).
Heater-cooler devices are medical units used in open-heart bypass surgeries to help regulate the temperature of a patient’s blood and maintain circulation during the procedure. In recent years, problems have arisen with a specific brand, the Sorin Stöckert 3T heater-cooler, which can increase the likelihood of bacterial infection and cause serious complications or even death.
Medical devices are considered defective when there is a design or manufacturing defect that makes them unreasonably dangerous. When a medical device is suspected of problems, it is up to the manufacturers and distributors to keep it from reaching the public, or to recall the faulty product. Unfortunately, most of the products that are found to be defective are recalled too late or not recalled at all.
As a result of these potentially fatal heater-cooler infections, dozens of individuals have filed lawsuits against Sorin Group. In February 2018, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated 40 of these cases from 21 districts into a single MDL (No. 2816) in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. More than 30 other lawsuits are filed in state courts across the United States and could be consolidated into the MDL in the future.
60% of coronary artery bypass surgeries in the U.S. use heater-cooler devices that can cause infection. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that as many as 1 in 100 people could be affected by serious complications from a nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) infection after undergoing cardiac surgery.
Nontuberculous mycobacterium infections are serious bacterial infections caused by one of more than 150 types of bacteria, the most common of which are M. chimaera, M. abscessus, and M. fortuitum. The use of Stöckert 3T heater-cooler devices in heart operations can increase the risk of these deadly infections by circulating the bacteria throughout the body. Symptoms can sometimes take months to appear, and they are often non-specific, making it difficult to diagnose the problem immediately.
Is There a Heater-Cooler Lawsuit Settlement?
As of June 2018, no heater-cooler lawsuit settlement has been announced. While it is possible that a settlement could be reached before the first bellwether trial begins, Sorin may also wait to see how juries rule in early verdicts before making a settlement offer.
Experienced Legal Help for Oklahoma Injury Victims
When someone is injured because of a defect in a medical device, they deserve to be compensated. Damages you may be compensated for include economic, noneconomic, and punitive. Economic damages may cover you or your loved ones for past and future medical expenses or earnings, while noneconomic losses include pain, suffering, emotional distress, and other subjective areas. Punitive damages are awarded in cases where punishment is meted out for reckless or intentionally, or egregious, negligent behavior or actions.
If you or a loved one has been injured because of a defective medical device, please contact the experienced defective medical device attorneys at Carr & Carr. Our law firm’s offices are located in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Springdale, AR, but we represent clients from across the country.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Contaminated Devices Putting Open-Heart Surgery Patients at Risk. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. October 13, 2016 Why Are People Filing Heater-Cooler Infection Lawsuits?
Weyant , Curtis. “Stöckert 3T Lawsuit.” ConsumerSafety.org, www.consumersafety.org/legal/heater-cooler-lawsuit/.