If you underwent surgery with the Bair Hugger forced-air warming system, and you have suffered a bacterial infection, MRSA, sepsis, or another serious surgical side effect, contact a reputable Bair Hugger injury lawyer today for legal help. You may have grounds to file a Bair Hugger lawsuit against 3M and Arizant, in order to pursue the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
The Bair Hugger therapy temperature management system is a special surgical drape that uses forced, warm air to regulate the body temperature of patients before, during and/or after surgery, in order to prevent hypothermia and other complications. The medical device is designed to deliver temperature-controlled air to patients via a disposable blanket, keeping them warm during surgery, and thereby limiting bleeding, reducing the risk of soft-tissue infections, and promoting a faster recovery.
Forced-air warming systems like the Bair Hugger blanket are designed to use pressure points on the patient’s body to prevent heat from reaching areas that may be at risk for burns or pressure sores. They also feature drain holes where fluid passes through the surface of the blanket to the linen underneath, which is designed to reduce the risk of skin softening and unintended cooling of the patient due to heat loss from evaporation. Bair Hugger blankets are disposable, which is intended to reduce the risk of passing infections from one patient to another, but the medical device may still pose a risk of infection for patients undergoing orthopedic surgery.
Roughly one in about a hundred patients who undergo joint replacement surgery develops an infection, which typically results in the need for additional surgeries to replace the implant, clean the affected joint and tissues, and administer intravenous antibiotics. Unfortunately, in some cases, the infection injury may lead to devastating complications, like MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant infection that may require amputation of the affected limb; or sepsis, a life-threatening response to an infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death. In some cases, the patient may need to have the affected limb amputated, in order to avoid additional complications.
In spite of numerous consumer complaints linking the Bair Hugger blanket to serious side effects, 3M and Arizant continue to market the medical device as safe and effective in all surgeries, including knee and hip replacement procedures. The medical device makers contend that 170 studies have found forced-air warming devices like Bair Hugger to be safe. In the meantime, critics accuse the companies of misleading doctors and patients about the safety of the product and manufacturing a defective medical device without adequately researching the potential for the Bair Hugger warming system to cause serious side effects in patients.
Statistics show that more than 80% of hospitals in the United States use Bair Hugger patient warming devices in millions of surgical procedures every year. Among the alleged side effects patients may be at risk for when undergoing surgery are:
The Bair Hugger warming system is designed to filter air using a 0.2 micron filter, then force warm air gently and evenly through the disposable blanket, in order to keep the patient warm before, during and after surgery. In some cases however, the forced-air warming blanket may suck up bacteria-contaminated air from the operating room floor and distribute the air over top of the patient and into the surgical site, posing a risk of deep joint infections. Even the inventor of the Bair Hugger system, Dr. Scott D. Augustine, warns that the surgical device may put orthopedic patients at risk for serious complications, because the machine can spread bacteria linked to infections, possibly exposing patients to dangerous side effects like joint infections, infected implants, MRSA and sepsis.
In a study published in the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia in August 2013, researchers concluded that “Forced air warming was found to establish convection currents that mobilized resident air from nonsterile areas (under the anesthesia drape) upward and into the surgical site.” An article published in Clinical Quality & Infection Control in July 2013 noted that “recent studies published in medical journals questioning the safety of forced-air patient warming in orthopedic implant and other ultra-clean surgeries could mean a wave of new litigation.”
Patients who have suffered infection injuries and other complications allegedly caused by the Bair Hugger patient warming device may be entitled to damages for their injuries, past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses. However, without an attorney on your side who has experience representing victims of side effects from defective medical devices, you may not receive the financial compensation you deserve. Already, men and women across the country who have suffered deep-joint infections from a bacterial contamination allegedly caused by the Bair Hugger blanket have come forward to file legal claims against 3M and Arizant and seek fair and timely reimbursement for their losses. With a qualified Bair Hugger lawyer in your corner, you too, can pursue the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries and medical bills.
As more information comes to light about the potential for the Bair Hugger blanket to cause serious infection injuries in patients, consumers across the United States are pursuing legal claims against 3M and Arizant for manufacturing a defective product, negligence, misrepresentation and failure to warn, seeking both compensatory and punitive damages for alleged Bair Hugger-related complications. So many lawsuits have been brought over side effects from the Bair Hugger blanket, in fact, that lawyers have requested that all Bair Hugger lawsuits be centralized into one federal court in Minnesota, for coordinated pretrial proceedings.
According to a federal lawsuit filed in Kansas in March 2014, a man became infected with MRSA following knee replacement surgery where the Bair Hugger blanket was used, leading to the amputation of his leg. In his lawsuit, the plaintiff states that the Bair Hugger warming system “creates warm, rising, airflow currents that deposit bacteria from the floor of the surgical room into the surgical site.” Another patient undergoing a routine knee replacement procedure using the Bair Hugger warming device developed a MRSA infection that resulted in the woman undergoing 11 surgeries and having part of her leg amputated. She now has to use a wheelchair to get around.
Estimates indicate that the Bair Hugger forced-air warming system has been used on more than 180 million patients since it was first introduced in 1988, and more than 80% of hospitals in the United States use the therapy temperature management system during surgical procedures today. Unfortunately, this means that many of these patients may be at risk for devastating deep-joint infections and complications like MRSA, sepsis or wrongful death. If you have suffered a deep joint infection, an infected implant, MRSA, sepsis, or another serious surgical complication, and you believe the Bair Hugger warming blanket to be at fault, consult an experienced Bair Hugger attorney today to explore your possible compensation options. With a reputable product liability lawyer on your side, you can ensure that your legal rights are protected and seek fair and timely reimbursement for your losses.