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Bair Hugger blanket lawsuits

Defective medical device attorneys helping patients whose health was compromised by warming blankets devices during surgery.

The Bair Hugger device used in knee and hip replacements or open-chest surgeries to keep patients warm, is claimed to facilitate severe infections by forcing air with bacteria on the surgery table, causing potentially life-threatening harm or injuries.

3M, manufacturer of trademark Bair Hugger, was sued over the device mostly known as a warming blanket in orthopedic joint surgeries. Some plaintiffs who got infections from hip surgery had several additional operations to fix the devastating infection, which has also been covered in the media.

It has been implicated also in cardiac infections from surgery.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are at the top the list of medical complications alleged by plaintiffs in some of the cases filed across the United States.

Heater-cooler devices are often used during surgeries to warm or cool patients as part of their care. They include tanks that provide temperature-controlled water to external heat exchangers or to warming/cooling blankets through closed water circuits, adjusted to temperatures best suited to the type of surgery being performed.

Airborne transmission of Mycobacterium chimaera bacteria from heater–cooler units have been researched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

“These experiments confirm airborne transmission of M. chimaera aerosols from a contaminated HCU `{`heater-cooler units`}` to an open surgical field despite ultraclean air ventilation.” – CDC Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, June 2016

If you or someone that you love has suffered infection or a severe side effect after a surgery in which the Bair Hugger system was used, contact us today for a free case evaluation.

FDA Confirmed the Potential for Infection

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) released a safety communication in October 2015 confirming the link to possible bacterial infections from all heater-cooler devices used in surgeries. It included “heater-cooler devices [that] provide heated and/or cooled water to 1) oxygenator heat exchangers, 2) cardioplegia (paralysis of the heart) heat exchangers, and/or 3) warming/cooling blankets.”

Warming blankets, like the Bair Hugger system, had the potential to “transmit bacteria through the air (aerosolize) through the device’s exhaust vent into the environment and to the patient,” said the FDA.

Forced-air warming (FAW) devices are effective for the prevention of surgical hypothermia, according to a 2013 published study of the Bair Hugger model 750, made by Arizant Healthcare Inc., a 3M Company. “However, these devices intake nonsterile floor-level air” and can have internal buildup or emission of microbial contaminants, the researchers concluded.

The study found microorganisms within 100% of the forced-air warming blowers sampled. The researchers identified coagulase-negative staphylococci, mold and micrococci in the samples. Also, particle counting showed 96% of forced-air warming blowers to be emitting significant levels of internally generated airborne contaminants out of the hose end.

Another 2009 study of FAW blowers in several Minnesota hospitals found 32% of the devices “appeared to exhibit abnormal filtration efficiency patterns that were suggestive of airborne contaminant generation inside the blowers,” among other problems detailed in the article available on the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

“This study has also shown that the design of forced-air warming equipment is questionable for preventing the emission of airborne contamination.”

Researches called on clinicians to consider alternatives to the warming blanket devices.

Known Risks of Infection by Bair Hugger

The Bair Hugger manufacturer knew of the risks posed to patients and didn’t take effective actions to make the product safer or warn healthcare professionals.

The inventor of the Bair Hugger system, Dr. Scott D. Augustine, warned in 2010 about its flawed design and potential for danger in an article featured in the New York Times, where he urged hospitals to stop using the device during certain operations.

Dr. Augustine, an anesthesiologist who used to be president of the company, is a pioneer of medical devices. He accused Arizant executives of covering up the device’s problems.

Current Bair Hugger Lawsuits

Bair Hugger lawsuits have been filed across the United States. There is also a multi-district litigation case based in the state of Minnesota, which involves 200 product liability complaints, all consolidated against Bair Hugger.

In addition to alleging Bair Hugger concealed knowledge of the device’s defects, plaintiffs also claim flaws in the “product’s design, development, manufacture, testing, regulatory approval process, and marketing.”

One of the plaintiffs, Timothy Johnson, got a MRSA infection – one of the most antibiotic resistant bacteria – that was so severe that lead to the amputation of his leg.

How to Begin a Bair Hugger Lawsuit

If you have suffered severe illness from a surgery involving the Bair Hugger warming blanket, contact us today to get a free, no hassle, veteran advice on your potential claim.

Greg Jones Law has exceptional skills and resources to take cases that involve defective medical devices. We have successfully sued major medical device manufacturers for failing to warn of the dangers because they should be held accountable for their defective products.

Call 855-Jones-Law (855-566-3752) or use this website to contact us online to talk with our firm.

Put an experienced medical device attorney on your side, contact Greg Jones Law today.

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