A lawsuit has been filed in the Middle District of Louisiana alleging that 3M Company’s Bair Hugger warming device caused a deadly infection. According to the lawsuit, the patient underwent cardiac mitral valve replacement surgery in May 2014 in which the Bair Hugger device was used. The patient then suffered from a severe infection caused by the Bair Hugger device that led to his death in September 2014.

Other patients are lining up to file additional lawsuits against the company alleging that the manufacturer knew about the increased risk of infections with the device, and failed to redesign the machine to make it safer and/or failed to adequately warn doctors and patients of the risks.

The Bair Hugger warming blanket is designed to push warm air through a hose into a blanket covering the patient to regulate body temperature during surgery. While keeping a patient warm during surgery greatly speeds up recovery time and reduces bleeding, lawsuits allege that the device pulls contaminated air from the floor of the operating room and directs it to the surgical site.

This allows for dangerous infections deep in joints and other parts of the body that are life-threatening. The infection could cause the patient to require additional surgeries, amputations, and joint fusion, among other medical problems.

Despite mounting lawsuits, 3M stands behind the safety of its warming device. As the lawsuits progress, more comprehensive information regarding the safety of the Bair Hugger device should become available.