MIAMI, FL – Medical device maker LivaNova has asked a panel of judges to combine 42 lawsuits against them into one single case. Plaintiffs say the company’s Sorin 3T Heater Cooler, used in open-heart surgery, exposed them to potentially deadly bacteria.
The device is also known as the Stӧckert 3T Heater Cooler System.
The German company’s request is an about-face from just last spring, when they fought consolidation before the same seven-judge panel.
Plaintiffs allege that LivaNova’s Sorin 3T Heater Cooler, used to control blood temperature during open-heart surgery, exposed them to a potentially deadly bacteria. While the bacteria, Mycobacterium chimaera, generally does not harm people with healthy immune systems, it can make patients who have had surgery seriously ill.
Last week LivaNova’s attorneys asked the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate 42 Sorin infection lawsuits from 17 states into a single Multi District Litigation (MDL) in South Carolina. Some plaintiffs’ attorneys say an MDL could deprive seriously ill people a timely resolution to their case.
In April 2017, LivaNova successfully blocked an earlier move to consolidate the cases. At that time only 15 suits had been filed against the company.
That number has since risen to 80.
Many more may have been infected by the Sorin 3T Heater Cooler
In October 2016 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration alerted hospitals that their patients may have been exposed to the M. chimaera bacteria while connected to the Stӧckert 3T Heater Cooler System.
Both American and European health regulators found compelling evidence that LivaNova’s manufacturing plants were the source of infections.
It’s not known how many patients were infected, but the CDC thinks the number might be very large. In 2016, Stöckert 3T heater cooler devices represented roughly 60% of the U.S. heater cooler market – and one quarter million cardiopulmonary bypasses were performed in the U.S. that year.
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