If you’ve undergone surgery in the past five years, the Bair Hugger Warming System was likely used during your procedure to regulate body temperature. However, if your surgery involved a total knee or hip replacement, this device could have caused life-threatening infections. More than 500 lawsuits have been filed against Bair Hugger’s manufacturers, 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare, alleging the companies failed to warn doctors and patient of the risks associated with the device.

The Bair Hugger is a special blanket that keeps patients warm during surgery. The device pumps warm air into a blanket with holes that is draped over the surgical patient. Regulating body temperature decreases bleeding risks and recovery time. But, using the Bair Hugger device during certain procedures has proven deadly for some patients.

Plaintiffs, consumer advocates, and even the inventor of the Bair Hugger, all believe that the medical device introduces contaminants and bacteria into open wounds during surgery. While the human body is capable of fighting off bacteria, bacteria that lands on hip and knee implants is not as easy to take on.

When bacteria are introduced into the human body, the immune system responds by sending antibodies to kill it. However, because implants are made from artificial materials like metal and plastic, the typical immune response isn’t triggered, making post-operative infections incredibly dangerous.

Because hospitals house hundreds of sick individuals, they also contain some of the most deadly infections, many of which are immune to antibiotics. Post-operative infections do not manifest symptoms in patients immediately after contraction, so patients might not realize the infection came from the hospital.

The Bair Hugger lawsuits are in the very early stages, but the number of cases in active litigation is quickly growing. While Bair Hugger manufacturers maintain their product is safe, an increasing number of Bair Hugger infection lawsuits beg to differ.