The Bair Hugger is an industrial-grade medical product that generates heated air in order to warm patients during surgery. Recently, reports have surfaced that Bair Hugger warming devices can create air currents which carry bacteria and other contaminants up from the floor and other surfaces in the operating theatre. These contaminants are then deposited onto the surfaces of medical implants, such as hip implants or knee implants, which can lead to a debilitating infection deep within the joint.
If you or one of your loved ones developed an infection after hip replacement surgery or knee replacement surgery you should consult an attorney. You may be able to get compensated for your medical bills and other losses if a Bair Hugger warming blanket was utilized during surgery. To talk about your case in a free legal consultation, call the Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at the Wieand Law Firm, LLC at (215) 666-7777. We are investigating claims by patients who developed infection after usage of Bair Hugger warming blankets throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Bair Hugger Blankets may Cause Surgical Infection following Hip Replacement or Knee Replacement Surgery
The Bair Hugger was invented during the 1980s by a doctor named Scott Augustine. Its purpose is to help anesthetized patients, who cannot regulate their own body temperature, stay warm while they undergo surgery. The Bair Hugger warming unit, which generates heated air, is manufactured by 3M and comes in three different versions: the Model 505, the Model 750, and the Model 775. The warming unit uses a hose to connect to a blanket, encapsulating the patient in a heated environment.
Despite statements by 3M that the Bair Hugger is safe for medical use, the product’s creator has made public statements that his own invention increases the risk of patient infections. Speaking with the Star Tribune in November 2015, Dr. Augustine, who now advocates against the use of the Bair Hugger, made the following statement:
“This product should never be on another orthopedic patient. […] We studied this extensively for about 18 months. I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that the waste heat [which carries contaminants] rises every single time. This was reported before 3M even bought the company. 3M can say that it doesn’t happen… But when you are going against a basic law of physics, it’s kind of an absurd thing to say.”
Recent medical research has shown that the Bair Hugger increases the risk of infections. In 2011, the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery published a peer-reviewed study (“Forced-Air Warming and Ultra-Clean Ventilation Do Not Mix”) which found that products which use conductive heat, like an electric blanket, are associated with “a significant reduction in infection rates” when compared to forced-air devices like the Bair Hugger. Medical products that use conductive heat have an infection rate of 0.8%, compared to the much higher 3.1% infection rate observed from the Bair Hugger.
Infections may pose serious health risks. However, infections such as MRSA, located in hip and knee implants, can be exceptionally difficult to treat. In addition to being treated with antibiotics, patients may also need to have the joint removed, undergo joint fusion surgery, or even have the limb amputated. Warning signs of infection include:
- Joint Pain
- Joint Stiffness
- Joint Warmth
Can Patients Get Compensated for Injuries from Defective Medical Products?
All product manufacturers, including the manufacturers of medical products, have a legal obligation to ensure that their products are reasonably safe for use as intended, or otherwise display clear warning labels. Unfortunately, flawed products can still reach the market and bring harm to unknowing patients.
There are several different types of flaws which can compromise the safety of medical products. For example, a manufacturing defect is a defect that occurs during the manufacturing process, leading to the creation of a product that malfunctions. Though Bair Hugger warming blankets may be free of manufacturing errors, lawsuit have alleged that they suffer from fundamental design flaws that make the product inherently dangerous, no matter how expertly each unit is built and constructed. The design, which uses forced air instead of conductive heat, creates an elevated risk of infection.
3M subsidiary Arizant Healthcare, which makes the Bair Hugger, may be liable for infections and other injuries caused by the products’ use. Financial compensation may be recoverable for a variety of damages, including:
- Diminished Earning Capacity
- Lost Income
- Medical Bills
- Pain and Suffering
- Prosthetic Limbs
- Scarring and Disfigurement
Contact an NJ or PA Bair Hugger Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation on Your Lawsuit
If you, your parent, your spouse, or one of your family members developed an infection or needed to undergo surgery after being treated with a Bair Hugger warming device, you should talk to a lawyer about the possibility of getting compensated for your losses, pain, and expenses. Multiple patients have already filed lawsuits in connection with Bair Hugger injuries.
Contact the Wieand Law Firm, LLC to talk about your case in a confidential legal consultation. Our defective product liability attorneys experience handling cases where patients were injured by defective medical devices and are prepared to handle the challenges and nuances of complex lawsuits. To discuss your New Jersey or Pennsylvania Bair Hugger defective product case, call us at (215) 666-7777 today.