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3M Bair Hugger Blanket Bellwether Cases Chosen for Trial

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3M Bair Hugger Blanket Bellwether Cases Chosen for Trial

Santa Clara, CAPlaintiffs involved in multi-district litigation (MDL) against 3M’s post-surgery patient-warming device, Bair Hugger, are on their way to court, following the selection of approximately 30 bellwether cases. The patients involved in the MDL allege that the Bair Hugger Forced-Air Warming system caused them to develop infections after undergoing surgical procedures. Specifically, the device, which blows hot air into a specially designed blanket covering a patient, spreads bacteria from the hospital floor or the inside of the device, the lawsuits state.

The cases were consolidated in 2015. In January, 2017, the court randomly selected 150 cases which were nominated because the plaintiffs involved all underwent either knee or hip implant procedures. In total, 31 federal cases have been selected by both the patients an 3M, 16 for each, from the 150 cases. One of the cases was chosen by both sides.

The Bair Hugger was invented by Dr. Scott Augustine, an anesthesiologist, and the FDA approved the device in 1988. But Augustine in 2010 asserted that his device is a danger to surgical patients because the forced air can spread bacteria associated with hospital-acquired infections. One plaintiff alleges she developed a drug-resistant infection that resulted in leg amputation, as a result of wearing the Bair Hugger.

The single-use Bair Hugger blankets and gowns were used in 22 million surgeries in 2012.

The case is In re: Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming Products Liability Litigation, case number 0:15-md-02666, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.

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