A woman who underwent total knee replacement surgery nearly ten years ago is stills suffering from complications caused by a Bair Hugger warming blanket. The woman has filed a lawsuit against Bair Hugger’s manufacturer, 3M Health Care, for failing to warn her of the increased risk of infection associated with the device.
After undergoing a knee replacement surgery, the plaintiff discovered several weeks later she had contracted MRSA. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA is a bacteria that is extremely difficult to treat because it is resistant to most antibiotics.
Since the original surgery, the plaintiff has undergone two additional knee replacement surgeries, but the infection still remains. The infection has destroyed so much of the bone and soft tissue in her knee there is no longer any way to attach the replacement to the tendons in her leg. The plaintiff suffers from chronic pain in her knee and can no longer walk without assistance. Her only option now is complete amputation.
But this is not the only lawsuit against 3M Health for the Bair Hugger. Hundreds of other knee and hip replacement patients are also claiming the device caused infections. The device works by forcing warm air into blankets placed over patients to help regulate body temperature during operations.
Plaintiffs aren’t the only ones who think the device is dangerous. Bair Hugger’s inventor, Dr. Scott D. Augustine, began advocating against using the device in 2002 because he believes it has a higher risk of infection.
The lawsuits against 3M Health are in the very early stages, but the company has a lot to answer for. More than 80% of hospitals in the US use warming blankets during surgery, which exposes millions of patients to an increased risk of infection from the device each year.