The Third Circuit revived a heart surgery patient’s suit against the former Sorin Group USA over claims that its heating-cooling device put him at risk of contracting bacterial infections, saying a lower court’s dismissal wrongly kept him from proceeding with his allegations in any court.
Last year, the lower court tossed plaintiff Kyle Hamer’s case because he didn’t have proof that he had a nontuberculous mycobacterium, or NTM, infection, which the district court required as part of a case management order in the MDL.
Hamer alleged that he had heart surgery in 2017 in Louisiana using the 3T device, but afterward, he got an infection that doctors suspected was an NTM. The hospital where he had the surgery also saw similar issues with other patients who had surgeries using the 3T device.
While Hamer’s “treatment team never isolated NTM from any of the swabs or cultures,” he was told that “the lack of a positive NTM culture did not mean that he hadn’t had an NTM infection,” the panel said.
The panel said that the dismissal was an abuse of discretion, finding that the lower court “deprived Hamer of the opportunity to litigate his claims in any venue without consideration of how they might fare outside the MDL context.”