Bair Hugger Lawsuit in 2024 | Damages & Compensation

Do you experience any issues using the Bair Hugger Warming System after surgery? The Bair Hugger from 3M Company is designed to keep patients warm during medical procedures. Some patients, however, claim that using the medical device caused complications and infections including sepsis or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). If you have suffered injuries, you can be qualified for compensation through a Bair Hugger lawsuit. Read on to learn more about Bair Hugger lawsuits and how Ethen Ostroff Law can help you get compensated.

What is a Bair Hugger warming blanket?

Scott Augustine, MD, of Minnesota created the first Bair Hugger. Arizant Healthcare, formerly known as Augustine Medicine, was the manufacturer. Augustine left the company in 2002, then 3M acquired Arizant in 2009.

Bair Hugger is a medical device that is typically used in hospitals to keep hypothermia after surgery. The device has three parts: a heating unit, a soft and lightweight disposable blanket, and a hose that connects the two. It works by supplying warm air into a blanket that covers the patient’s body through a hose. This warm air then surrounds the patient, keeping their body temperature at an appropriate level.

Are Bair Huggers FDA-approved?

The first version of the Bair Hugger warming system received FDA approval in 1987. The FDA cleared the product without proof from clinical trials that the blankets were safe enough to use in surgery. Since 1990, the FDA has issued 12 more clearances for similar medical devices.

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What are the issues surrounding Bair Huggers?

For decades, the Bair Hugger Warming System device has been used to keep patients’ bodies warm before and after surgery. It has, however, been the subject of litigations, raising questions about its usage in medical settings. There are concerns that the Bair Hugger Warming System may increase the risk of serious infections. While the manufacturers of the Bair Hugger dispute these claims and maintain that the device is safe, many patients who have developed serious infections after surgery believe that the device played a role in their injuries.

Studies have shown that the device may transport bacteria to open surgical wounds by picking them up from underneath operating tables. The blanket is pushed toward the unclean floor as it releases waste heat. Thanks to convection currents, it then rises as contaminated air. Ultimately, the air that is tainted with bacteria is drawn in by the forced air warming system, where it is dispersed across the surgical incisions.

Consequently, many patients suffer joint infections after surgery. Compared to other types of surgery, the risk of infection is higher following joint, hip, and knee replacements. Patients who have these procedures usually repeat the same procedure, go through drawn-out, painful recovery periods. Some even have their prosthetic joint removed or replaced in the end.

When do surgeons utilize Bair Huggers?

These blankets are used by surgeons for all kinds of surgeries, including the following:

  • Hip replacement
  • Hypothermic conditions
  • Knee replacement
  • Any surgery that requires anesthesia
Bair Hugger Lawsuit

What are the risks associated with Bair Huggers?

The risks associated with Bair Huggers include:

  • Infections, like MRSA and sepsis 
  • Modified surgery to remove infected tissue or implants, resulting in increased pain, distress, and medical costs 
  • Death in some cases

 

Complications from Bair Hugger can be serious and require significant medical treatment, including:

  • Amputation
  • Additional surgeries
  • Intravenous antibiotic treatment
  • Joint implant removal and revision
  • Physical therapy
  • Placement of an antibiotic spacer in the infected joint
  • Hospitalization

 

After undergoing joint replacement surgery using the Bair Hugger Warming System, it is important to be aware of the following signs that may indicate the development of a joint infection caused by bacteria circulating in the forced airflow:

    • Chills and sweats
    • Drainage from the wound
    • Fatigue
    • Fever
    • Joint pain and stiffness
    • Swelling around the joint
    • Warmth or redness at the surgical site

Did 3M recall Bair Huggers?

In January 2018, 3M recalled 165,000 Bair Hugger warming blankets due to a design defect. The recall was not related to infection risks. 3M said a design change could prevent some blankets from fully inflating. This design defect could lead to dangerous changes in body temperature during surgery. The company later recalled worldwide the lot with the blanket used in the surgery. The affected lots (R10359, R10360, R10361, R10362, R10363, R10364, R10365, and R10366) were all distributed after October 26, 2017.

Are there Bair Hugger lawsuits?

Yes, there are. The concerns about the Bair Hugger Warming System have led to numerous lawsuits against 3M and its subsidiary, Arizant. The 3M Bair Hugger lawsuit claimed that the surgical warming blankets caused devastating implant infections that required additional surgery or amputations. 

In December 2015, a federal panel combined 14 lawsuits claiming Bair Hugger devices were responsible for infections into multidistrict litigation (MDL 2666) in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. Judge Joan N. Ericksen oversees the MDL. The number of lawsuits in the MDL has since grown over 5,000.

What are the allegations in the Bair Hugger lawsuits?

The allegations in the Bair Hugger blanket lawsuits include:

  • The Bair Hugger Warming System is defective and dangerous.
  • 3M failed to adequately warn patients and healthcare professionals about the potential risks of using the device.
  • 3M knew about the increased risk of deep joint infections related to the use of Bair Huggers
  • 3M continued to market and sell the device despite knowledge of the risks.

Bair Hugger Lawsuit update 2023

Here are the updates on the 3M Bair Hugger lawsuit:

  • May 30, 2023: The Supreme Court denied 3M’s request for review regarding the reinstatement of consolidated litigation over Bair Hugger surgical warming blankets.
  • April 19, 2023: The Bair Hugger class action MDL has reopened with 5,173 pending lawsuits after more than a year on hold pending the outcome of appeals.
  • April 17, 2023: A disqualification motion was filed in the Bair Hugger class action claiming that Judge Ericksen secretly engaged a retired products liability defense attorney as an adviser.
  • March 22, 2023: A patient filed a lawsuit alleging that the Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming system caused a periprosthetic joint infection during left knee surgery in 2021.
  • February 10, 2023: Judge Ericksen held the first status conference in the Bair Hugger class action MDL since it was reactivated following the plaintiffs’ victory on appeal.
  • December 14, 2022: The Bair Hugger class action MDL officially resumed with a request from 3M to adopt a new schedule and waive further discovery, scheduling three new bellwether test trials for the beginning of 2024.
  • February 3, 2022: Judge Ericksen appointed retired Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan to mediate the Bair Hugger blanket lawsuits.

Who is eligible to bring a Bair Hugger lawsuit?

  • A patient who underwent a joint replacement surgery where a Bair Hugger warmer was used.
  • A patient who developed a hospital-acquired deep joint infection within 60 days of the surgery.
  • A patient who suffered/suffers losses because of a Bair Hugger-acquired infection, including extended hospitalization or physical therapies, additional surgeries, painful recovery experience, or disability.

How to file a Bair Hugger lawsuit

You could be qualified to bring a lawsuit against 3M if you suffered harm as a result of utilizing the device both during and after surgery. The following are some general guidelines:

  • Start by finding an experienced attorney who specializes in medical device lawsuits. They can evaluate your case and help you determine if you have a valid claim.
  • Your Bair Hugger blanket attorney will likely ask you to provide any medical records, surgical reports, and other relevant information related to your injury as evidence. They may also gather additional evidence to build your case.
  • Your attorney will draft a formal complaint outlining the details of your case and file it with the appropriate court. This will officially start the legal process.
  • Relevant information and evidence, like depositions and other testimony, will be exchanged between the parties.
  • To get an outside-of-court settlement, your attorney might attempt to negotiate with 3M. 
  • If no settlement is reached, your Bair Hugger blanket lawsuit will proceed to trial. There, you will have the chance to argue your case in front of a jury who will determine the case’s fate.

What are the compensations for your Bair Hugger injuries?

The amount and type of compensation depend on the circumstances of the case. Compensations can include:

  • Medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Additional compensation for specific damages

Bair Hugger Lawsuit settlements paid

There have been no settlements that have been made public. Plaintiffs have sought up to $1 million in damages from 3M and Arizant.

Hire Ethen Ostroff Law Now!

The Bair Hugger infection is an alarming issue that has impacted many patients who underwent surgery with the Bair Hugger Warming System. While the debate regarding the connection between the device and infections is ongoing, it is evident that certain patients have experienced severe infections following surgery with the device. These infections have led to additional complications and tragically, even a loss of life in some cases.

If you have developed a serious infection following surgery with the Bair Hugger Warming System, you may have grounds to pursue compensation for the harm you have suffered. Ethen Ostroff Law and its partner firms are here to support you in bringing forth a 3M Bair Hugger lawsuit and securing justice and rightful compensation for the damages you have endured. 

For a free consultation, please contact Ethen Ostroff Law at 610-510-8883 today.

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