3M Battles Bair Hugger Lawsuits

Did you suffer a serious, life-altering infection after a routine joint replacement surgery? Did you require additional surgeries, physical therapy, a prolonged hospital stay or even an amputation as a result of this infection?

There’s a chance that your infection was caused by a commonly-used, forced air heating blanket and you may be entitled to significant financial compensation to help mitigate your loss of money and time, and help ease your pain and suffering.

Temperature regulation prior to surgery is an important part of joint replacement procedures, especially for older patients that lose core body temperature faster and easier than younger patients. The “Bair Hugger” warming blanket, now manufactured by 3M Co., has been one of the most popular medical warming blankets in the country since 1987, and has been reported to have been used in more than 200 million surgeries in the past 30 years.

The blankets are low-cost, effective and are used in four out of five hospitals. Originally designed by Arizant Inc., a Minnesota-based medical device manufacturer, the rights to the blankets and the Arizant company itself was purchased by 3M for $800 million in 2010.

However the method by which the blanket warms its users – forcibly pumping warm air through tubes in the blanket from a separate heating source connected by another tube – may lead to contaminating the sterile air of an operating room, as some studies have shown can happen, leading to infection.

Contaminants that are stirred up as a result of the combination of stale, hot air from the heat generator and the constant air circulation may wind up on the surface of a patient’s hip or knee implant, which must be absolutely free of contaminants going into the body. Otherwise, infection may result due to the body reacting to these new, unknown contaminants being introduced.

These infections can range in severity, but at their worst they can lead to serious conditions that require extended hospital stays and even additional surgeries. For elderly patients, the ones most likely to undergo joint replacement surgery, these setbacks can be enormously traumatic and risky, in addition to the significant financial burden they may cause.

More than 50 orthopedic surgery patients filed suit against 3M in 2015 claiming that the blanket caused deep-joint infections, and the suit alleged that 3M knew of the risks but did nothing to warn patients of the possibility of infection nor did they attempt to fix the product so such a risk wasn’t a factor.

3M has denied any culpability, but they’re not off the hook for paying large sums in potential damages. If you or a loved one has undergone a joint replacement surgery and has subsequently experienced any adverse symptoms such as:

  • Joint swelling
  • Chills or night sweats
  • High Fever
  • Warmth or soreness/irritation at surgery site

Then these may be symptomatic of a serious, deep-joint infection. You may be forced to undergo additional operations, pay for costly medicine and stay hospitalized for additional, unforeseen amounts of time. This burden is one you shouldn’t have to suffer through alone, or without financial recompense.

At Altman & Altman LLP, we have over 40 years of experience fighting on behalf of people who were victimized by faulty products. We will help you file a suit or join an existing class action suit, and be there for you every step of the way to ensure that your concerns are heard and that you are given the best chance at financial compensation.

Do not be victimized and silently accept it, call a member of our professional legal team today at 617-492-3000 or toll-free at 800-481-6199. We are available 24/7.





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