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3M Bair Hugger Lawsuit

A Forced-Air Warming blanket is a medical device designed to keep patients warm during orthopedic surgery and reduce the risk of infections. But these warming blankets, including the 3M Bair Hugger Warming System, may actually be causing infections. A number of 3M Bair Hugger injury lawsuits have been filed by patients who had hip or knee replacements and allege they developed Deep Joint Infections due to forced air warming blanket use. One patient who filed a Bair Hugger defective medical device lawsuit needed his leg amputated after developing infection following surgery.



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3M Forced-Air Warming Blanket

bairhuggerForced-Air Warming blankets (FAW) work by pushing warm air through a hose into a blanket draped over a patient under anesthesia. Keeping a patient warm during surgery - —the Bair warming blanket is typically used during hip and knee replacement surgery - —produces benefits such as less bleeding and a faster recovery. But these blankets may also pose an increased risk of deep joint and other hospital-acquired infections such as sepsis and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which can both be life-threatening. The Bair Hugger warming system can allegedly pick up bacteria-contaminated air and blow harmful pathogens directly onto a sterile surgical site, according to the New York Times (Dec. 2010).

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. (He has since designed and promoted another FAW.)

Complications stemming from infection allegedly brought on by use of forced air warming blankets can require the following treatment:
  • Additional revision surgeries and longer hospitalization
  • Joint implant removal and revision
  • Physical therapy
  • Placement of an antibiotic spacer in the infected joint
  • Intravenous antibiotic treatment
  • Amputation

Bair Hugger Studies

A study in 2012 published in the Bone & Joint Journal (formerly JBJS) regarding airborne contaminants linked the Bair Hugger warming system to an increased risk of implant infections.

The JBJS in December 2014 reviewed current literature involving Forced-air warming devices such as the Bair Hugger. The authors looked at many other studies and a Continuing Education statement by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) and "suggest that proper use of the forced air warming devices mitigates or eliminates this risk while maximizing the benefits of patient warming."

Bair Hugger Lawsuits

legalmalpracticelawyer2013: A Texas man, 70-year-old Tommy Walton, had hip replacement surgery in 2011. His lawsuit against 3M and Arizant Healthcare Inc., —the Bair Hugger manufacturer and a 3M subsidiary,—claims that the airflow from the Bair Hugger device caused an infection that resulted in 15 additional surgeries and eventual removal of the hip replacement. The 3M Bair Hugger lawsuit alleges the air used by the device was discharged under the surgical table, picked up germs that rose with the heat and blew them directly onto the hip replacement device.

The lawsuit further states that Bair Hugger FAW was defective due to inadequate post-marketing warnings and/or instructions because Defendants failed to provide adequate warnings...and continue to aggressively promote Bair Hugger FAW.

3M Company and Arizant Healthcare, Inc.. have also been accused of negligence by:
  • Failing to properly and thoroughly test Bair Hugger FAW before releasing the device to market;
  • Failing to properly and thoroughly analyze the data resulting from the pre-market tests of the Bair Hugger FAW;
  • Failing to conduct sufficient post-market testing and surveillance of the Bair Hugger FAW

Walton is seeking more than $1 million in damages.

March 2014: Timothy Johnson had knee replacement surgery at the University of Kansas Hospital in September 2010 and subsequently developed the antibiotic-resistant infection MRSA. His leg needed to be amputated. Johnson's lawsuit claims that air from the Bair Hugger system "creates warm, rising, airflow currents that deposit bacteria from the floor of the surgical room into the surgical site."

Rosie Bartel also developed a MRSA infection after knee replacement surgery. She is now in a wheelchair after enduring 11 more surgeries and having part of her leg amputated. According to her lawsuit, Bartel also lost her home and her job.

The single-use Bair Hugger blankets and gowns were used in 22 million surgeries in 2012. Arizant Healthcare Inc. was bought by 3M in 2010 for $810 million.

3M Bair Hugger Warming Blanket Legal Help

If you or a loved one has suffered similar damages or injuries, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.

Last updated on


FDA Clears Bair Hugger for Post-Surgical Use
FDA Clears Bair Hugger for Post-Surgical Use
September 12, 2017
Washington, DC: 3M’s , Bair Hugger, the subject of some 2600 defective products lawsuits across the US, has received clearance for use from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to a spokesperson for the FDA, the agency has no conclusive evidence to establish an association between use of a forced air thermal regulating systems and an increased risk of surgical-site infections READ MORE

3M Bair Hugger Blanket Bellwether Cases Chosen for Trial
3M Bair Hugger Blanket Bellwether Cases Chosen for Trial
April 11, 2017
Santa Clara, CA: Plaintiffs 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 READ MORE

Federal Bair Hugger Lawsuits Climbing, Now Number 1105 in MDL
Federal Bair Hugger Lawsuits Climbing, Now Number 1105 in MDL
February 8, 2017
Minneapolis, MN: It’s little wonder the Bair Hugger lawsuit ledger continues to grow and swell, given the number of patients for whom the forced-air warming system has been utilized over the past 25 years: some 200 million procedures have used the system, originally designed and deployed to keep the patient warm and prevent hypothermia, amongst other advantages. However, Bair Hugger deep joint infection has become a serious issue for an increasing number of patients, many of whom have filed a warming blanket lawsuit READ MORE
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Posted by
Tom Sweesy
Is there any research out there on the rate of infection NOT using the bair hugger warming device or using any other device to keep your body warm during surgery?

Posted by
Herbert Cox
To much to text for me same as Walter same as Kathy meschan, and also Tony all three combine, there's no de about it,its true device cause infectiom,its been six years since total knee replacement and I really feel like I'm going to still die from it. Posted march 16 2017

Posted by
Jonathan Hurley
A pickup truck went right through in 1976. The entire left side of my body bore injuries, among these a compound fracture of the neck of the femur. Two separate open hip reductions with a screw were required to hold the head of the femur in position. After 90 days, I left the hospital to walk on crutches for 2 years. No issues with infection. In 1995 I required a hip replacement. Again, no issues with infection. Then 2013 I received "revision" surgery to replace the worn components. An infection produced a hematoma the size of a football over the surgery site. Surgery was performed to eradicate the infection. IV antibiotics, wound vacuum, etc. Released only to have the infection again. Surgery again with same process. Infection continued. A fourth surgery to clear the infection failed also. I was asked to have my entire femur removed (to remove the source of infection) but was told I would be bedridden for as long as 6 months. I declined and am now on a regimen of oral antibiotics. The continuous use of antibiotics present issues of their own.
So, 3 prior surgeries of hip reduction in the same area had a successful outcome. Introduce the Bair and an infection occurred. And these statistics do not lie. I drove my surgeon crazy just asking "Why?" The INVENTOR of the device is on record and says it causes infection.
God forbid you find yourself harmed and need to resort to tort law. I was healthy and in great shape. Really looked forward to enjoying my retirement. Swimming, sailing, scuba diving, traveling, bike riding and golf were on my daily agenda. Now, I can't even walk. I aged 25 years in 6 months. I would have happily endured the cold of the OR to be healthy today. I did well the first 3 times.

Posted by
I had a heart valve repair & acquired MRSA & spent two months in 4 hospitals fighting for my life. The hospital where surgery was performed sent a letter warning of possible infection due to warming/cooling device. Because I did not have joint replacement surgery, I have not found a class action suit to include my case. Who can believe that the germs only infect joints?

Posted by
Catherine Felix
I don't believe in all this hype about the Bair Hugger causing infections. I believe that it is just attorneys spreading misinformation to help churn up potential lawsuits. I have a Bair Hugger used on me during one of my surgeries and had zero complications. I think instead of trying to scare people why not educate them on facts.

Posted by
Doreen phillips Atkinson
I have successfully got surgeons to use bairhuggers maintaining normothermia . I understand that they need to be adhered to surrounding skin so as the surgical site is protected . This is mostly on abdominal surgery. I wonder is this adherence more difficult to secure in joint surgery??

Posted by
Wayne Wedgeworth
Had Open Heart surgery in 2002 (not quiet sure) and contracted an infection and returned to the hospital in less than one week. contracted a hospital MRSA infection and was hospitalized for one month on IV antibiotics. Now every time I get an infection I have to take High powered antibiotics to kill the infection. Have been hospital twice due to infections. The worry and stress will be always there.

Posted by
Tony Friday
I had knee replacement surgery in 12/17/14 in May 2015 infection set up forced out work. Went a round of antibiotics for a month and two more surgery's still walk with a limp and pain.

Posted by
I had a knee replacement on 12/12/12 then revision 12/10/14 and the Blair Hugger blanket was used I had a stalf infection I had to do two rounds of IV antibiotics for 6 weeks both times.They put a spacer in after 4 months with that the doctor put a new implant in but my leg will not straighten out and it's bends only 85 range..... I been on crutches 5 months and counting wating on results to see if the infection is still there so much pain and stiffness is unbarellable at times....

Posted by
Ronald F.Williams
I had replacement hip surgery got MRSA and four days later removal of the the first replacement and had a second hip surgery. Ten days later was discharged from the hospital with I V antibotic(Vancimycin) and told that wasall they could do for me. This happen at Swedish Medical Center Englewood, Colorado on April 4,2009 thru April 14,2009.

Posted by
Jayne Scheets
I have had continuing hip infections since my hip replacement surgery in 2013.
The Bair Hugger was used in my surgery's. After the first surgery I had suffered and contracted a vicious MRSA infection. The Bair Hugger was used during my surgery and also in the recovery room in fact I was admitted into my hospital bed with the Bair Hugger still on me. I believe that this caused my infection and thus needed several rounds of heavy antibiotics such as Vancomycin IV for over 2 ½ years and being on a would vac for months every time I came home from the hospital. The embarrassment of being wheeled around in my wheel chair having a tube running out of my body with blood and puss and was just horrible. I only went out of the house for doctor visits and blood work. My husband lost his job because he had to take so many days off work to take me to all of my appointments. My hip surgeon gave up on me and sent me to another hip surgeon that was able to get my infection under control. The emotional, physical, unbearable pain, constant digging with needles sticking into me and the humiliation of being exposed and finally being labeled someone with a contagious infection was indescribably emotionally unbearable. I could not go near my grandchildren because of the fear of infecting them with this airborne incurable MRSA infection I did not want to cause them any harm of being infected. I only hope that this miserable infection (that has no real cure) has not harmed my husband in any way. He is my main care giver. The emotional strain of these 3 hip implants, one medicated hip and 3 cleanouts and 6 months with no hip at all until the infection was totally undetected. Because of this I have to be on low does antibiotics the rest of my life. I have the most horrible scar that is over 9 ½ inches and the bone, and muscle tissue loss that I may never get back.
After my original surgery from Dr. Z (who dumped me because he could not figure out what to do) I was at a total loss and thought I was going to die. He made some phone calls because of my very active infection was so bad it needed to be treated. He referred me to Dr. M that took one look at my infection, that had turned into three bulbous green areas on my incision had needed immediate surgical removal. I was admitted into the hospital and Dr. M took out the hip replacement and did not put anything back so the area would begin to heal with no foreign parts in my hip. After 6 long months the infection cleared and Dr. M has put the hip appliance in this past October 6th. I show no elevated white cell at this time. I am holding my breath because this has been a long road that has not ended yet. I stand the risk of reinfection and a lifelong scar. I am now trying to walk again. I have to use a cane and a walker. I have a lot of pain and have phantom feeling of blood and puss running down my leg all the time. What a horrible continuing nightmare I have had to endure that I have gone through and it may not be over yet.

Posted by
kathy meacham
i had a total knee replacement done in 2006 and they used that in my surgery as well ! i went to recovery at a convalescent hospital i had gotten an infection in my leg that sent me right back to the hospital and sent home on a pick line with heavy antibiotics and my knee never healed right !

Posted by
Calvin, I feel your pain. I've had a total of 5 Total Knee Replacements ending with one leg amputated. Due to all the antibiotics by IV I have moderate/heavy kidney damage. The Dr's could never give me an explanation of why all the knee surgeries became infected within 6 months. I'm now out of work and damned near broke all the while stuck in a wheelchair.

Posted by
Otis. Young
They this blanket on me when I had. A total hip replacement surgery/revision/ in 6/27/012.

Posted by
Linda C. Miller
I was placed in Bair Huggers during both of two emergency abdominal surgeries in one week. I developed what all of the medical people referred to as a "surgical MRSA" that I battled for 8 mos. The second emergency surgery was the result of the first one. Why do I not find information about Bair Hugger's causing infections other than in joint replacement surgeries?


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