Product Liability Attorneys For Bair Hugger Cases
The Bair Hugger surgical warming blanket is used during surgical procedures to keep patients warm. However, this forced-air warming blanket has been the subject of numerous product liability lawsuits. Plaintiffs allege that the Bair Hugger is defectively designed, and causes infections.
The majority of cases involving the Bair Hugger allege deep joint infections. Suits allege that 3M and Arizant Healthcare failed to warn of the risks associated with the Bair Hugger. Plaintiffs note that in recent years, the original inventor of the Bair Hugger has advocated against its use due to the risk of deep joint infections.
Parker Waichman LLP has decades of experience successfully representing clients in product liability lawsuits. The firm continues to offer free, no-obligation legal consultations to individuals looking to file a Bair Hugger deep joint infection lawsuit.
You only have a limited amount of time to sue, so contact one of our experienced product liability attorneys with any questions today. Compensation from a lawsuit can cover damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
What is the Bair Hugger?
The Bair Hugger is a single-use surgical warming blanket used to maintain a patient’s body temperature during surgery. The device was originally developed and marketed by Arizant Healthcare in 1987. Arizant is now a subsidiary of 3M. As such, both companies are named as defendants in Bair Hugger product liability lawsuits.
When a patient is put under anesthesia for surgical procedures, the body temperature drops significantly. The Bair Hugger is an inflatable blanket that covers the patient; the device is connected to a flexible hose, through which warm air is pumped using a portable heating unit. The Bair Hugger contains holes, allowing the warm air to blow onto the patient.
The Bair Hugger surgical warming blanket uses a “forced-air” design. Lawsuits allege that this forced-air design is defective, because it causes the device to pick up contaminants from the operating room floor and deposit them into the surgical site.
Most Bair Hugger lawsuits are filed on behalf of individuals who underwent a knee or hip replacement surgery and suffered a deep joint infection, allegedly due to the warming blanket. Plaintiffs allege that 3M and Arizant were aware of this risk but failed to implement design changes or warn the medical community.
Inventor of Bair Hugger Says Forced-Air Design is Flawed
Parker Waichman notes that the inventor of the Bair Hugger, Dr. Scott Augustine, has advocated against using the warming blanket due to the risk of deep joint infection. He now sells a competing device, which uses conductive heat instead of forced air to keep patients warm.
Dr. Augustine has stated that the Bair Hugger can increase the risk of infection during surgery due to its forced-air design. He claims that the forced-air design disrupts the flow of sterile air in the OR, leading to serious infections. “There is no question that it’s a true phenomenon. It’s happening. And it’s easy to show,” he said to Star Tribune in 2015. “With regard to orthopedic infections, a scare is what’s needed. This product should never be on another orthopedic patient.”
“We studied this extensively for about 18 months. I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that the waste heat rises every single time. This was reported before 3M even bought the company,” Augustine told Star Tribune. “3M can say that it doesn’t happen. … But when you are going against a basic law of physics, it’s kind of an absurd thing to say.”
In 2011, the Bone and Joint Journal in the United Kingdom published a paper suggesting that the Bair Hugger had a “significant” increased risk for deep joint infection compared to the HotDog. After conducting statistical analysis from experiments with mannequins, authors said that the Bair Hugger infection rate was 3.1 percent compared to 0.8 percent with the HotDog.
3M, Arizant Face Bair Hugger Lawsuits
Bair Hugger product liability lawsuits have been mounting against 3M and Arizant. Plaintiffs allege that the warming blanket is defective and caused deep joint infections. 3M and Arizant allegedly failed to warn of the risks. In December 2015, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) established a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) for Bair Hugger lawsuits in Minnesota. From December 2015 to October 2016, the number of lawsuits increased from 15 to over 800.
An MDL is a type of mass tort that consolidates similar lawsuits to one court before one judge. Bringing lawsuits with common allegations together in one court before one judge helps make legal proceedings more efficient by avoiding duplicate discovery and conserving court resources.
Plaintiffs in the MDL similarly allege that the Bair Hugger surgical warming blanket introduced contaminants into the surgical site and led to a serious, sometimes fatal, infection. Arizant Healthcare and parent company 3M are accused of failing to warn patients and the medical community about these risks.
Unlike a class action lawsuit, plaintiffs in an MDL are treated separately and the severity of injuries may vary between plaintiffs. In a class action, one complaint represents an entire group of plaintiffs.
Bair Hugger Burn Injuries
While most Bair Hugger lawsuits are filed over deep joint infections, court records show that at least one plaintiff is suing over burn injuries. The plaintiff alleges that manufacturers 3M and Arizant Healthcare designed the device defectively, causing burn injuries. The lawsuit seeks compensation for burn injuries, allegedly caused by the warming blanket.
The personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP note that this is an unusual Bair Hugger lawsuit. Hundreds of other Bair Hugger claims allege that the blanket caused a surgical site injury, mostly in knee and hip replacement patients. The firm continues to keep up-to-date with Bair Hugger litigation.
Filing a Bair Hugger Product Liability Lawsuit
If you or someone you know suffered an infection following a surgical procedure that used a Bair Hugger forced-air warming blanket, you may have valuable legal rights. The personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman offer free, no-obligation case evaluations.
For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).