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3M Bair Hugger Linked To Infection After Knee or Hip Replacement

Lawsuits have been filed over complications with the 3M Bair Hugger warming blanket. The Bair Hugger is a forced​ air warming blanket used to protect patients against hypothermia during the course of certain surgical procedures.

A patient whose body temperature​ drops at least 2 degrees Celsius can lose two times as much blood as a patient who is kept warm. Because of this, hospitals use the Bair Hugger warming blanket to normalize a patient’s body temperature during surgery.

The blanket works similar to a forced air heating system in a house. Warm air is sucked into the blanket and then is pushed out of vents on the other side of the blanket.

This sort of warming device has been used in U.S. hospitals since 1998. Presently, 80% of U.S. hospitals make use of the Bair Hugger system when performing surgeries, such as knee and hip implants.

Recently, however, there have been numerous reports of complications with the Bair hugger warming blanket. Patients receiving medical implants have developed serious infections after using the blanket.

The most common infections developed by these patients have been:

  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

  • Deep joint infections

  • Periprosthetic joint infections

  • Soft tissue infections

  • Staph infections

  • Cellulitis and

  • Sepsis

These infections can lead to serious health problems that often require additional surgeries, and or the removal of the implant, dead tissue, and most of the infected muscle. In addition, some patients may need to have their limbs amputated.

On top of the physical and psychological harm, these complications can result in additional medical treatment, extended hospitalization, and large medical bills.

The History of the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket

The FDA has a program called the 510(k) program. Under this program, the FDA can approve a medical device without there being any clinical proof that it is safe, as long as it is similar enough to a previously approved medical device that is already on the market.

In 1987, the first Bair Hugger warming system passed through this 510(k) program and between 1990 and 2002 twelve additional clearances were passed through the 510(k) program.

From 2004 to 2006 two more clearances passed through the program and from 2011 till today there have been several claims made to the FDA regarding adverse events resulting from the use of the 510(k) approved Bair Hugger system.

One complaint from a 70-year-old Texas man who underwent hip replacement surgery claims that he suffered a deep joint infection that required an additional 15 surgeries, including the removal of the artificial hip.

Another complaint filed in Kansas Federal Court claims that the use of the Bair Hugger heating blanket lead to the spread of MRSA and eventually the amputation of the patient’s leg.

Compensation For Complication Caused by the 3M Bair Hugger Warming Blanket

Though the device manufacturer has pointed out more than a hundred studies that suggest that forced air warming is beneficial when it come to maintaining normal body pressure, experts note that none of these studies properly analyzed forced air warming during orthopedic surgery.

Furthermore, research from The Bone & Joint Journal found that warm air systems used in operations increase airborne contaminant by as much as 100 fold.

Attorneys are now pursuing Bair Huggers lawsuits. These lawsuits seek compensation for the physical and psychological harm, disability, lost wages, and medical expenses that result from the use of the Bair Hugger blanket and the resulting complications.

To find out if you are eligible for a Bair Hugger lawsuit settlement, contact and experienced defective medical device lawyer for a free case review. Strict time deadlines apply to filing a claim, so you need to act immediately in order to qualify for a settlement.

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