A Massachusetts Bair Hugger lawsuit may be an option for patients who suffered severe infection after having joint replacement surgery. Bair Hugger warming blankets are used to warm a patient before the surgery begins, during the procedure, and throughout recovery to prevent hypothermia and an increased risk of infection. However, concerns have been raised over whether the popular forced air warming device could actually be contributing to infections, resulting in serious injury. Affected patients and their families may be eligible to file a lawsuit and pursue compensation for damages with the help of a Massachusetts Bair Hugger lawsuit attorney.
For more information, contact Attorney Group for Massachusetts today. Our consultations are free, confidential and without any obligation on your part. We can help answer your questions, and if you choose to pursue a claim we can connect you with an affiliated Massachusetts Bair Hugger lawsuit attorney who can assist you throughout the legal process.
What is Perioperative Hypothermia?
According to Infection Control Today, patients under anesthesia are unable to control their body temperature. As a result, patient warming is needed to prevent the core temperature from dropping below 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the point at which hypothermia can set in. Using forced air devices, such as the Bair Hugger, surgeons can prepare a patient’s body for surgery and aid in recovery afterwards by keeping his or her core temperature within the proper range to prevent infection.
Also called normothermia, patient warming helps to keep surgical site infections at bay. When hypothermia sets in, tissues can begin to lose oxygen, which can result in a resistance to fighting infections at the point where the surgery occurs. Unintended hypothermia is a completely preventable surgical complication that can also have serious effects.
How Does the Bair Hugger Device Work?
According to 3M Co., the manufacturer of the Bair Hugger device, forced air warming works by using filtered operating room air heated in a separate warming unit that is then pumped through a hose into a blanket made up of rows of tubes that fill up with the heated air. The blanket can be placed on top or beneath a patient throughout the surgical process. The warmed air is moved over a patient’s skin in order to keep his or her body temperature at a safe level. The warming blankets can be used over the entire body, or they may be centralized to a specific location.
Bair Hugger Risks
According to an article in the Star Tribune, the inventor of the Bair Hugger device has been asked to testify in numerous lawsuits against 3M making claims that the device increases the risk of developing surgical site infections. The inventor, who developed the device in the 1980s, alleges that the warming unit can create excess heat that can cause germs present on operating room floors to be transported through the device and onto a patient’s body.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, a surgical site infection can occur up to 30 days following a surgical procedure. These infections can occur close to where an incision was made, in the surrounding tissues or beneath the area where the surgery occurred. The most common germs that can result in a surgical site infection include staphylococcus, pseudomonas and streptococcus. If an infection occurs, it can be treated with antibiotics, but in some severe cases, additional surgeries and even amputation may be required.
Bair Hugger Lawsuit Claims
In 2013, a Texas man filed a lawsuit against 3M, claiming that he ended up with an infection after undergoing hip replacement surgery. The lawsuit alleges that contaminated air was pumped into a Bair Hugger warming blanket and was recirculated directly onto the surgical wound. As a result, the man claims to have required 15 subsequent surgeries, as well as having his hip implant removed.
Another lawsuit, filed in February 2016 in Louisiana, joins the growing number of claims against 3M that the company was negligent and failed to provide enough warning surrounding the increased risk of surgical site infections.
How a Massachusetts Bair Hugger Lawsuit Can Help
Medical device makers have a duty to provide safe products. If there are risks of harm associated with their products, they also must provide adequate warnings. If a medical device maker fails to fulfill this duty, it could be held liable in lawsuits for injuries that may result.
People injured by Bair Hugger warming blankets may be eligible to recover money for:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
The families of those who have died may be eligible to recover money for funeral expenses and the pain that comes with losing a loved one.
The Time You Have to File a Claim is Limited. Contact Us Today.
For more information, contact Attorney Group for Massachusetts. You can fill out the form on this page or contact us by phone or email.
After you contact us, an attorney will follow up to answer questions that you might have. There is no cost or obligation to speak with us, and any information you provide will be kept confidential.
Please note that the law limits the time you have to pursue a claim or file a lawsuit for an injury. If you think you have a case, you should not delay taking action.