Estey Bomberger is currently reviewing Bair Hugger warming blanket cases nationwide. A joint infection or septic arthritis following hip or knee replacement surgeries may be caused by the Bair Hugger blanket. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with a deep joint infection, contact us for a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to substantial financial compensation.

What are Bair Hugger Warming Blankets?

Warming blankets are used during surgery because anesthetized patients cannot regulate their temperature. When the core body temperature drops rapidly, the patient is at immediate risk of unintended hypothermia. The blanket was developed by a US surgeon and approved by the FDA in the 1980’s. and is used in 90 percent of all surgical procedures. Blankets have been proven to have numerous benefits, from speeding up recovery time, to reducing bleeding problems. One of the most common intraoperative forced air warming blankets is the Bair Hugger blanket, made by 3M (formerly manufactured by Arizant). The Bair Hugger offers 25 types of blankets, made to meet varying needs from pediatric to geriatric patients, and surgical procedures on various locations of the body.

How Blankets Cause Infection

On the 3M website, Bair Hugger blankets are marketed as “Infection Prevention” products, but they may actually cause infection, by forcing bacteria-contaminated air from the floor of the surgical room into the patient’s open surgical room. The blankets work similar to forced-air heaters, pushing warm air through a flexible hose into a blanket draped over a patient.  This tubing discharges warm air over a patient’s body, but also releases air under the surgical table. There are concerns that the air can then mix with germs and bacteria in the room, and land on the patient’s surgical site.

Schackmann Infection Lawsuit

One man, Renny Schackmann, filed a federal lawsuit in Minnesota after he became infected with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), requiring him to have six further surgical procedures in the year following his revision surgery for his hip implant. The complaint alleged that Arizant and their parent company 3M have consistently concealed their knowledge of the Bair Hugger’s unreasonably dangerous risks of surgical complications from the plaintiff, other consumers and the medical community at large.

In August 2015, Reuters reported that 14 hip and knee replacement lawsuits have been filed alleging serious deep joint infections due to the Bair Hugger. One plaintiff filed a motion with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to have all federal claims consolidated in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, “in order to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings, and serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.”  Arizant and 3M have opposed centralization.

To learn more about your legal rights, contact Estey Bomberger for a free consultation.