Patients who are allegedly most at risk are those undergoing knee and hip replacements. Robert almost lost his leg due to infection, and his infectious disease doctor said that “something had to attach itself to the prosthesis or area during surgery.” It could have been worse. One knee replacement patient who recently filed a Bair Hugger lawsuit alleges he had his leg amputated after it became infected with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. An artificial hip patient underwent 15 additional surgeries after contracting a surgical site infection.
As of November 2015, more than 50 orthopedic patients claimed that the Bair Hugger caused severe, deep-joint infection. Attorneys expect that number will rise exponentially as patients learn about the alleged risk of the warming blanket used during surgery causing contamination. Two Bair Hugger cases have been pending since 2013 and 2014, but most lawsuits have been filed in the past six months.
Multidistrict legislation, which was established last year in the US District Court, District of Minnesota for federally filed Bair Hugger lawsuits, is moving forward. As of February, about 70 lawsuits are involved in the MDL. A motion filed by Meshbesher & Spence last August to coordinate the Bair Hugger litigation into an MDL said that scientific literature “in reputable places” has found that the Bair Hugger device resulted in a “disproportionate rate of deep joint infection,” according to Class Action Reporter. “While a slight risk of infection might be expected, a substantial increase in the rate of infection because of the use of this device is not something any of these patients would have consented to or agreed to if they knew there was an alternative.”
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“In contrast to the typical medical device mass tort litigation
initiated by outside events - such as FDA action or the discovery
of new risks published in independent, peer-reviewed studies -
these cases present the unprecedented circumstance of product
liability litigation concocted by lawyers and based on the false
and misleading claims of the inventor of the device and now
A 3M spokeswoman contended that 3M’s warming products have been used over 25 years by more than 200 million patients without “a single confirmed incident of infection caused by the Bair Hugger system.” Robert and hundreds of knee and hip replacement patients disagree...