What’s the problem?
In February 2018, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated nearly 40 lawsuits claiming that Sorin 3T Heater-Cooler devices spread nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) infections during open chest surgeries. JPML transferred the lawsuits to a single federal court in Pennsylvania to streamline the proceedings. Plaintiffs allege that they became infected or a loved one died after surgeries using the companies’ heater-cooler devices.
What is Nontuberculous Mycobacteria?
Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are organisms naturally found in soil and water, according to the American Lung Association. When contained in these environments, NTM present little danger to healthy adults. However, when the bacteria infects the airways and lung tissues, it can lead to life-threatening disease.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of nontuberculous mycobacteria infection include:
- Cough that won’t go away
- Coughing up blood (hemoptysis)
- Shortness of breath when active
- Low-grade fever
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
Most NTM bacteria are naturally resistant to common antibiotics, according to National Jewish Health (NJH). Therefore, treatment regimens vary greatly depending on the species. Some of medications used to treat NTM happen to treat tuberculosis (TB) as well. To overcome drug resistance, people with NTM may need to take several different antibiotics at the same time. The goal of treatment is to achieve “negative” sputum cultures and maintain that for 12 months before stopping.
About Class Action Lawsuits
Although we are a nationally recognized class action firm, the Medical Device Litigation Group at our law firm has decided against the filing of a nontuberculous mycobacteria class action suit, and is currently only filing individual claims on behalf of injured individuals and/or their family members who developed NTM infections after undergoing surgery with Stockert 3T heater-cooler devices. Our lawyers decided on this course of action because it has been our experience that in this type of litigation, class action suits can be a detriment to many class members, as they are often forced into a blanket “low ball settlement” and higher attorney fees. At Schmidt & Clark, LLP we understand that our clients are suffering emotionally and economically due to loss of wages and/or high medical bills and we plan to maximize each client’s recovery by filing individual nontuberculous mycobacteria lawsuits on their behalf.