Manufactured by 3M, the Bair Hugger is a forced hot air warming system that is used to help regulate a patient's body temperature during surgery. The portable device pushes warm air through a hose into a surgical blanket draped over the patient and also releases air under the surgical table.
Unfortunately, one side effect from having air blown under the surgical table is that air can spread pathogens into an open wound, resulting in serious post-surgical infections. Several lawsuits have been filed by patients who suffered infections after a Bair Hugger was used during their surgeries.
Dr. Scott Augustine, the inventor of the Bair Hugger, has publicly stated that the Bair Hugger can be dangerous because of the risk of spreading bacteria known to cause hospital infections. In September 2013, a Las Vegas woman filed suit after she developed two severe hospital bacteria infections after a Bair Hugger was used during her knee replacement surgery. She had to undergo multiple surgeries to remove the knee implant and clean the infected area and has suffered permanent injury due to the infections.
This patient's Bair Hugger lawsuit claims that 3M knew of the increased risk of serious infection and attempted to conceal that information. Her suit offers as evidence a 1997 letter from 3M to the FDA stating that “air blown intraoperatively across the surgical wound may result in airborne contamination.”
Other serious side effects from Bair Hugger complications can include hospitalization, additional surgeries, implant removal and even amputation or death. According to news reports, more than 50 Bair Hugger lawsuits have been filed against 3M. It is estimated that the company has sold more than 200 million units since 1987, and that the device is currently used in 80% of U.S. hospitals.
Showard Law Firm handles defective drug and medical device claims, including Bair Hugger claims. If you or a loved one have been harmed by a medical device or drug, contact us for a free consultation.