Welsh & Welsh, a personal injury law firm in Omaha, Nebraska, is currently seeking clients who have suffered from post-surgical infections caused by bacteria contamination during procedures where the 3M Bair Hugger warming blanket was used during surgery. By filing a Bair Hugger warming blanket lawsuit, you could potentially receive funds to recover medical costs and speed up your recovery process. To learn more about these lawsuits and why they’re being filed, continue reading.
What is a Bair Hugger Warming Blanket?
Warming blankets are used during many surgical procedures—especially long, complicated surgeries like orthopedic hip and knee replacements. They’re used to keep patients warm before and during the surgery and to maintain normal body temperature. One of the most popular surgical warming blankets is produced by 3M and is called the Bair Hugger.
According to the Star Tribune, the Bair Hugger warming blanket has been used in more than 200 million surgeries since 1987. The Bair Hugger is a single-use blanket that’s used in four out of five U.S. hospitals today. It works by forcing warm air through a hose and into the blanket which is draped over the patient. For years, it was assumed that the warm air that gets circulated through the blanket was sterile since surgical environments are continually kept sterile, but new evidence is now suggesting otherwise.
Why is the 3M Bair Hugger Potentially Dangerous?
Since 2015, more than 50 reports and accompanying lawsuits have started to debunk the assumption that the air circulating through the Bair Hugger warming blanket remains sterile. These lawsuits come from orthopedic surgery patients nationwide who have suffered from serious surgical infections like MRSA and sepsis. Both infections can lead to serious complications. Deep-joint bone infections also commonly result.
In addition to severe post-surgical infections, patients who became ill after having surgery where the Bair Hugger was used have also had to endure repeat hospital stays, additional surgeries, possible amputation, and harsh antibiotic treatment therapies. Many infections, like MRSA, never go away and can lead to lifelong consequences.
The lawsuits claim that the 3M Bair Hugger warming blanket was at fault for the infections. As the Bair Hugger runs and circulates warm air into the blanket, it naturally warms the air outside of the blanket as well. This causes warm air to accumulate below the surgical table where it becomes trapped. Over time—especially during long surgeries like joint replacement surgeries—this can cause bacteria and other contaminants to become airborne.
The warming blanket causes a natural current of warm air to circulate from underneath the surgical table back into the blanket. If the bacteria-ridden air circulates back into the blanket, this can cause the patient to become exposed to the bacteria.
3M denies that this is happening, but scientists and doctors nationwide are beginning to prove that this may be a potential flaw with Bair Hugger blankets. Despite an alarming number of reports and lawsuits coming in, 3M has refused to take the blanket off the market, improve the product, or warn hospitals about the possibility of airborne bacteria.
How Can a Bair Hugger Warming Blanket Lawsuit Help?
If you or someone you love has suffered from a post-surgical infection after having orthopedic surgery or another procedure where the Bair Hugger blanket may have been used, you may be able to join other victims who have suffered the same way by filing a lawsuit against 3M. 3M should have investigated the cases of infection when they were first reported and should continually work to improve their products. By not doing so, they are potentially allowing additional patients to become sick.
Filing a Bair Hugger warming blanket lawsuit may force 3M to reevaluate the blankets and make them safer for use, decreasing the chances of surgical infection. Filing a lawsuit may also award your family with financial compensation that can go towards hospital bills, surgery costs, recovery costs, in-home care costs, and loss of wage costs. The compensation granted from filing a lawsuit won’t take away the symptoms of a severe infection, but it can help a family move forward and find the road to recovery.
For more information on how to file a lawsuit against 3M or to find out the merits of your potential case, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Welsh & Welsh today. Our Omaha law firm can pair you with a Bair Hugger warming blanket lawyer who understands the complexities of product liability lawsuits involving unsafe medical devices and is prepared to ensure your case succeeds.