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
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
Bair Hugger Studies
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
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.
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