Bair Hugger Warming Blanket Lawsuits Increase in NumbersAug 3, 2016
Based on a Reuters analysis of data from the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, the number of filings in multidistrict litigation (MDL) brought over the Bair Hugger warming blanket increased greatly in June. As of March 31, 2016, the blanket manufacturer, 3M Co. reported that it faces more than 260 lawsuits, the majority of which are pending in federal or state court in Minnesota. Most plaintiffs involved indicated that they were recovering from knee or hip replacement surgery or cardiovascular surgery and subsequently developed surgical site infections they claim were due to the Bair Hugger blankets.
Three women filed one lawsuit on behalf of a man who underwent a cardiac mitral valve replacement surgery. He subsequently suffered a serious surgical site infection, which resulted in his death, reported the Louisiana Record. The plaintiffs claim 3M allegedly designed, manufactured, promoted, marketed, and distributed the defective device and concealed and continue to conceal its knowledge of the Bair Hugger’s dangerous risks from consumers and the medical community, and are therefore, responsible.
The majority of complaints have been filed by knee and hip replacement patients. This is likely because the bacteria that forms around the device during these surgeries may make infection resistant to the body’s natural immune system. In addition, a protective shield may be formed by the bacteria around the device, making any antibiotic treatment ineffective. Because of this, many patients have endured additional surgeries and even amputation to combat the infection.
In 25 years more than 200 million patients have been warmed by the Bair Hugger warming blanket. More than likely, the lawsuits filed until now, are just the beginning of more to come.