August 15, 2017 — A class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of everyone in Iowa who was exposed to a potentially deadly bacteria from a Stӧckert 3T heater-cooler machine.
The lead plaintiff, Jeri Pickrell, is a woman from Iowa who is seeking compensation on behalf of everyone who was exposed to M. chimaera, M. abscessus, and other types of Non-Tuberculosis Mycobacterium (“NTM bacteria”) during surgery.
The class action represents patients who had surgery at two hospitals in Iowa — Mercy Medical Center and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (“UIHC”) — where the 3T Heater-Cooler was used in surgeries.
3T Heater-Cooler Systems are used in the operating room to regulate the blood temperature of patients undergoing surgery. They were likely contaminated with bacteria at a manufacturing facility in Germany.
In February 2016, UIHC warned approximately 1,500 patients who had open-heart, lung, or liver surgeries between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2016 that that they were exposed to the potentially deadly bacteria.
In August 2016, Mercy Medical Center warned approximately 2,600 patients who had open-heart surgery between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2016 that they were exposed to the bacteria from a heater-cooler unit.
M. chimaera and other types of NTM bacteria are slow-growing, so the infection may not produce any symptoms for up to 5 years. In other cases, symptoms appear within a few weeks. These symptoms may include fever, pain, redness, heat or pus around the surgical incision, night sweats, joint or muscle pain, and fatigue.
The Class Action (PDF) was filed on May 31, 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Iowa — In RE: Jeri Pickrell et al. v. LivaNova PLC et al. — Case 4:17-cv-00191-CRW-CFB.