The Bair Hugger warming system is used in nearly 80% of operating rooms across the country, and patients are quickly filing lawsuits against 3M Company and Arizant, Inc. Although the companies maintain the device is safe, the allegations in hundreds of lawsuits seem to differ. An increasing number of medical device lawsuits have been filed alleging the companies failed to warn consumers of the increased infection risks.
How Does The Bair Hugger Work?
The Bair Hugger warming blanket pushes warm air through a hose into a blanket covering a surgical patient to regulate body temperature during surgery. However, lawsuits allege the device pulls contaminated air from the operating room floor and directs it over the body of the patient, including to the surgical site.
While the human body is capable of fighting off some infections, deep joint infections caused by the Bair Hugger are not as easy. Because joint replacements are made of metal and plastic, it is difficult for the immune system to attack bacteria that make it to these implants. When the Bair Hugger introduces contaminants that stick to hip or knee implants, the bacteria in the contaminants can quickly multiply and cause an infection.
Infections caused by the Bair Hugger require additional medical treatment like multiple surgeries, placement of antibiotic spacers, antibiotic therapies, irrigation, and debridement, among others. Some patients who have suffered infections caused by the Bair Hugger required complete amputations of the affected limbs.
Bair Hugger Lawsuits
3M and Arizant currently face more than 550 lawsuits alleging the companies failed to warn patients of the increased infection risks. Although the lawsuits are in the very early phases, with the Bair Hugger’s widespread use, the number of lawsuits is likely to rise dramatically.