Before your operation, you may never have heard of a Bair Hugger warming blanket. But if you’ve had hip or knee surgery of any kind, there’s a good chance that this warming device was used during your procedure—and if you developed an infection, it may have been responsible.
John Foy & Associates is investigating lawsuits to help patients harmed by the Bair Hugger. We are one of America’s leading medical injury law firms, and have championed the rights of patients for over 20 years. Based on current lawsuits against the makers of the Bair Hugger device, we believe that the device has caused serious harm to patients—in some cases ruining lives. Let us help you. If you experienced an infection after a knee or hip surgery where a Bair Hugger was present, we would like to sit down with you and review your case for free. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What is a Bair Hugger Warming Blanket and why is it used?
Surgeons work hard to keep a patient’s body at the right temperature. Bodies tend to cool down during surgery, which can cause complications. If the patient is kept at or near a normal body temperature, it helps reduce bleeding, shorten recovery time, and improve surgical outcomes. For this reason, operating rooms use many kinds of warming systems, from warm fluids put into the body intravenously to warming blankets and forced air heating systems.
The Bair Hugger is a hybrid solution, combining a warming blanket with forced air heat. The device blows hot air into a plastic blanket, inflating it like a warm bubble over the patient. It also blows directly onto the patient—and, unfortunately, around the operating table. It is now understood that this method of warming conflicts with ultra-clean ventilation and can potentially spread germs.
The Bair Hugger device has been marketed aggressively, and has become one of the most common warming solutions at hospitals across the US.
What is the problem with Bair Hugger blankets?
Bair Hugger warming blankets may cause infection.
Warming isn’t the only concern in an operating room. Hygiene is top priority, because even the smallest infection can become lethal if it strikes an open surgical site. Unfortunately, we now know that Bair Hugger air systems may conflict with hygienic ventilation methods and may spread contamination. The Bair Hugger “kicks up” dust and tiny particles from under the operating table and blows them over the open incision in the patient.
What are the risks of an infection during knee or hip surgery?
Infections can be severe and even life threatening. When the knee or hip is opened up for surgery, any bacterial infection can spread deep into the tissue. Once the surgical site is sewn up, bacteria enjoys the perfect environment and the infection can become serious. In some cases it may develop into sepsis, a condition where the whole body can go into shock and multiple organs may fail. In other cases the post-operative infection may involve MRSA, a form of staph infection that is resistant to antibiotics and almost impossible to cure.
Treatment for any deep-joint infection is difficult. In most cases it will involve another surgery. This surgery may need to remove the infected tissue—in other words, the joint itself. Treatment may include:
- Removing the hip or knee implant that was just put in
- Fusing the joint that the first surgery was intended to save
- Multiple surgeries to “revise” the implant
Some people aren’t candidates for these surgeries. In this case, they have to be treated with long-term antibiotics. This can be devastating to the body, and does not always resolve the infection.
Did the manufacturer know that the Bair Hugger blankets could cause infection?
Yes. Bair Hugger warming blankets are manufactured by Arizant Healthcare, which is owned by 3M. Arizant was made aware of the risk of infection associated with the device. A responsible manufacturer might have used that information to redesign the Bair Hugger to be safer, or to simply warn doctors of the risk. Arizant took neither of these precautions. To the contrary, lawsuits against Arizant/3M state that the company actively worked to conceal or minimize research that connected an increased risk of infection with its device.
Do I have a case for a Bair Hugger lawsuit?
If you or a loved one had joint replacement surgery and experienced an infection, you may have grounds for a lawsuit—and a complete financial recovery. You are entitled to recover costs including all your medical bills, medication, missed work time, and the pain and suffering you experienced.
You may not be 100% certain whether a Bair Hugger is the cause of your infection. But you could still have a case. We can help you determine whether this device was used in your procedure and whether it may have contributed to your risk of infection. Remember—the manufacturer is responsible, not you.
An infected knee or hip replacement can have lifelong repercussions. We know that there is no way to undo the damage done. But we believe you should get the best recovery possible, regain as much mobility as you can, and live free of crushing medical bills. Call John Foy & Associates and get a professional legal opinion on your case—free of charge. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your FREE consultation today.