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In the 1990s, Dr. Scott Augustine invented a way to keep patients warm before surgery. The warming system, named the “Bair Hugger” Forced-Air Warming Blanket, uses an inflatable blanket to keep patients’ core body temperature at safe levels.
Suffering hypothermia – with uncontrollable shaking and shivering – during or after surgery is a common but serious complication of anesthesia. The Bair Hugger is supposed to prevent heat loss, helping patients recover faster and bleed less after surgery. Bair Huggers have been used in more than 200 million surgeries to date.
Unfortunately, scientific evidence links warming blankets to an increased risk of infection.
The device manufacturer, 3M, faces mounting lawsuits from orthopedic surgery patients who say the Bair Hugger circulated contaminants around surgical sites and caused severe joint infections. These patients suffered multiple surgeries, debilitating illness, and amputations from the infections.
Operating rooms are specifically designed for sterilization. When a Bair Hugger is used before surgery, the heat builds up on and beneath the operating table, creating a warm current. As we all know, heated air rises, so that current, stirs up and lifts contaminants from the floor, which can then enter the knee or hip implant site.
What We Know
Dr. Augustine, the inventor of the controversial device, has requested that hospitals stop using his device due to its association with higher rates of infection. He loudly opposes Bair Hugger’s use, saying there’s “no question” that it’s linked to deep-joint infections, and that it should “never be on another orthopedic patient.”
In 2011, a medical journal published findings from a study on patients who underwent joint surgeries using either the Bair Hugger or its competitor, a device that warms patient using a blanket (such as an electric blanket) rather than forced air.
That study found Bair Hugger patients suffered significantly more deep-joint infections than the electric blanket patients. More than 3% of Bair Hugger patients developed infections, compared to just 0.8% of the other patients. Still, more than 80% of U.S. hospitals use the Bair Hugger for joint surgeries.
There are more than 450 injury claims currently involving the Bair Hugger in A Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) structure in Minnesota, specifically MDL No. 2666. These plaintiffs suffered permanent injuries, painful surgeries, and disability from Bair Hugger infections. They claim 3M lied to the FDA about Bair Hugger’s air quality and misled patients and doctors about its true risks.
The first trial is scheduled to begin on November 6, 2017.
For a free legal consultation with a bair hugger warming blanket lawsuits lawyer serving nationwide, call (800) 794-0444
If You Developed an Infection After Surgery, Call (800) 794-0444 Today
We have decades of experience handling defective product and personal injury cases involving medical issues. Since our founding in 1985, we have handled 10,000+ injury cases In that time, we have developed a vast pool of resources to build effective, compelling cases for our clients.
If the Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming system caused you to suffer a deep-joint infection, our firm has the resources to hold 3M accountable. We have won more than $60 million for our clients in high-stakes cases, awarding our clients peace of mind and a sense of justice for the harm done to them.
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