The Bair Hugger Lawsuit

Warming blankets are commonly used to reduce bleeding and shorten recovery times for hospital patients undergoing surgery. Unfortunately, Bair Hugger forced air warming (FAW) blankets have caused serious surgical complications for some orthopedic surgery patients. Many cases of devastating deep joint infections have prompted a Bair Hugger lawsuit, with plaintiffs from San Diego, CA, and across the nation seeking compensation for extensive losses.

If you had knee or hip replacement surgery with a Bair Hugger device in 2007 or later and experienced a deep joint infection following the procedure, you may be entitled to legal compensation. Please contact our personal injury law firm today to set up a free consultation and case review

About Bair Hugger Complications

An operating room with a forced air warming blanket

Used in most U.S. hospitals, the FAW blanket is designed to stabilize a patient’s body temperature during an operation. The device includes a flexible hose that circulates warm air under a disposable blanket draped over the patient. The Bair Hugger is safe for many types of surgery, but for joint transplant patients, there have been serious problems. Recirculating, warm air creates an environment favorable for germs and bacteria, which can enter and contaminate a deep, open wound.  

Evidence indicates the company knew about the risk of infection with this technology, but failed to warn doctors, hospitals, and patients.

Many orthopedic surgery patients have developed methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections after undergoing procedures with the Bair Hugger. Presenting with swelling and flu-like symptoms, a deep joint infection can be difficult to treat and very serious. MRSA is resistant to antibiotics, and the bacteria that develops around knee and hip implants can form a protective shield that exacerbates the problem. The periprosthetic infection becomes even more resistant to medication and also impervious to the body’s natural immune response.

Extreme invasive measures must be taken in these cases, which may mean additional surgeries, extended antibiotic therapies, and worse. Some patients are faced with debilitating joint fusion or amputation. If a deep joint infection is not properly treated, further complications can include sepsis, which can ultimately prove fatal.

Accusations of Negligence

Bair Hugger manufacturer, 3M corporation, is now named in numerous medical device lawsuits alleging claims of negligence and wrongdoing. Evidence indicates the company knew about the risk of infection with this technology, but failed to warn doctors, hospitals, and patients. In 2010, the inventor of the device, Dr. Scott Augustine, warned 3M the blanket presented a danger to patients and needed to be redesigned.

It appears that 3M tried to discredit and conceal scientific evidence of infection risks – to the serious detriment of patients. Had patients and healthcare providers been sufficiently warned, it’s certain that steps would have been taken to prevent complications that have adversely impacted many.

Seeking Compensation for Damages

More than 100 plaintiffs have filed lawsuits seeking compensation for injuries, including many cases of permanent disability. In December 2015, cases were consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Minnesota. Commonly employed when multiple plaintiffs emerge with claims against one defendant, MDL is an efficient way to handle discovery matters. MDL is not a class action, and each plaintiff retains his or her own lawyer to pursue an individualized case outcome.

Contact Our Law Firm

If you suffered a serious infection after orthopedic joint replacement surgery, the manufacturer of the Bair Hugger system may be liable. It is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible, because case filing deadlines are applicable. Our experienced defective medical device team is here to help. Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation.