The Bair Hugger warming blanket is manufactured by 3M. The Bair Hugger is a forced-air warming blanket used for patients undergoing surgery. The surgical warming blanket is used to keep patients under anesthesia warm to prevent hypothermia and promote healing. It works like a forced-air heater, pushing warm air through a hose into a blanket draped over an unconscious patient.
However, it is believed that the blanket may cause serious infections in patients who have artificial joint replacement procedures, such as knee and hip replacements. Studies indicate that the warming device lifts bacteria and other contaminants from the operating room floor and blows the germs into the sterile surgical site.
The presence of a foreign device used in the knee or hip replacement causes the body to create a biofilm which makes the infection antibiotic-resistant. Bacteria that lands on a prosthetic implant may secrete a coating of biofilm that protects it from antibodies and antibiotics. The biofilm allows a single airborne germ to cause a deep infection of a joint implant. As a result, patients undergoing joint replacement surgery are at risk of deep prosthetic joint infections such as staph and MRSA infections. These infections are serious and can be life-threatening.
We believe the blanket’s manufacturer 3M knew of the risk of infections but failed to properly warn doctors and patients about the risks. The New York Times reported that Bair Hugger’s inventor, Dr. Scott D. Augustine, believes his invention is dangerous to patients undergoing hip and knee replacement surgeries because the forced air can spread bacteria associated with infections acquired from the hospital. Dr. Augustine now promotes what he considers a “safer alternative,” which is a warming device that does not use forced air and works like an electric blanket. See nytimes.com/2010/12/25/business/25invent.html?_r=0.
If you or a loved one developed an infection after hip or knee replacement surgery, the Bair Hugger may have been responsible. We can help you seek compensation for your medical expenses, pain & suffering, loss of a normal life, disability, disfigurement and more.
Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. is currently accepting injury cases involving the Bair Hugger warming blanket. If you or somebody you know was diagnosed with an infection after hip or knee replacement surgery, you should contact us immediately for a free consultation.