Bair Hugger Warming Blanket Infection Lawsuits Attorneys
Bair Hugger Blanket Linked To Joint Infections
Numerous lawsuits have been filed against 3M, the manufacturer of Bair Hugger™ Forced Air Warming blankets, by patients who developed deep joint infections following a knee replacement or hip replacement procedure.
Plaintiffs are claiming that the manufacturer failed to warn patients and healthcare providers of the increased risk of developing a deep joint infection when a Bair Hugger™ forced air warming blanket is used. The lawsuits also claim that even after learning of the increased risk of deep joint infections, manufacturers failed to redesign the warming blanket machine to make it safer.
UPDATE – Bair Hugger Warming Blanket Cases Consolidated in MDL Proceeding
In December 2015, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) transferred all federal cases filed against 3M involving the Bair Hugger device to the District Court of Minnesota before Judge Joan Ericksen. Presently, over 1,200 cases have been filed against 3M alleging infection and injury caused by the Bair Hugger forced air warming blanket. Depositions of witnesses and review of documents produced by 3M are currently ongoing in the case and will likely continue through 2017.
On December 23, 2016, Judge Ericksen randomly selected 150 cases from all filed Bair Hugger cases for inclusion in the potential bellwether pool of cases. In January, 2017, the parties identified approximately 30 cases from the 150 case bellwether pool for consideration as a bellwether trial. The first bellwether trial is now scheduled to begin in early 2018. Our firm continues to review and file cases in the Bair Hugger Multidistrict Litigation as we work to move the litigation forward and achieve a recovery for our clients.
UPDATE (January 2017): Judge Joan N. Ericksen of the United States District Court of Minnesota recently announced the random selection of 150 cases for inclusion in the bellwether pool of cases in the Bair Hugger MDL. The bellwether cases are representative cases that will be tried first from the thousands of pending Bair Hugger cases.
UPDATE (May 2017): Out of the bellwether pool of 150 randomly selected cases, the Court announced eight (8) cases have been selected for bellwether trials and announced the order of the first five (5) trials currently set to begin in February, 2018.
How Does a Forced Air Warming Blanket Work?
Forced air warming (FAW) blankets, such as the Bair Hugger™, are used to help maintain a patient’s body temperature during surgery. The blanket is hooked to a heater that forces warmed air over the patient’s body through holes in the blanket to maintain the patient’s body temperature without making the entire room uncomfortable for medical staff.
Studies have shown that patients who are kept warm during surgery have a better recovery rate, which is the main selling point of forced air warming blankets like the Bair Hugger™.
Forced Air Warming Blanket Linked To Joint Infections
Forced warming blankets, such as the Bair Hugger device, discharge excess heated air under the surgical table during the procedure causing germs and bacteria on the floor to become dispersed and recirculated during surgery. The recirculated germs and bacteria can contaminate the surgical wound site and increase the risk of deep joint infections, such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Unfortunately, these joint infections are very difficult to treat and often require revision surgeries and in some cases can result in amputation.
Infection Risks Noted By Study
A study published in the Bone & Joint Journal in 2011 noted a significant increase in deep joint infections, as demonstrated by an elevated infection odds ratio (3.8, p = 0.024), when forced-air warming was used versus non-forced air warming of patients during surgery.
A further study published in 2013 noted the use of forced air warming increased contaminant particle concentration 1000-fold by drawing potentially contaminated particles from below the operating table into the surgical site.
Inventor Warns of Infection Risks Associated With the Bair Hugger™ Warming Blanket
In 2010, the inventor that brought the Bair Hugger forced air warming device to market told the New York Times that infection risks were being hidden by the company selling the device. His warning included a recommendation to hospitals that they use a patient warming system that does not utilize forced air to reduce the risk of deep joint infections. Despite this warning, forced air warming is still the most common method of keeping a patient warm during surgery, and the Bair Hugger™ blanket is the most popular (and best selling) medical device for this.
Did You Suffer a Joint Infection Following Hip or Knee Replacement Surgery?
If you have had a knee replacement surgery or hip replacement procedure, there is a very good chance that a Forced Air Warming (FAW) blanket was used during your surgery. Bair Hugger is the most popular forced air warming blanket on the market, with over 22 million blankets and gowns used during surgeries in 2012 alone.