To prevent patients from suffering hypothermia during orthopedic surgery, many hospitals in Chicago and across the country use a device called the Bair Hugger forced air warming blanket.
However, due to a potential defect, the device may be exposing patients to the risk of painful, debilitating infections – especially when used during knee or hip implant procedures.
If you or a loved one has suffered an infection after going through a surgery in which the Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming System was used, you should consult with an experienced defective medical device lawyer from Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. right away.
For more than 30 years, our law firm has protected the rights of patients throughout Illinois. Our record of success includes more than 210 cases in which we have obtained an award of $1 million or more on behalf of our clients.
We can review your case, explain the legal options available to you and get to work immediately on seeking the compensation you deserve. Call or connect with us online today for a free consultation.
When a patient undergoes surgery, the patient’s body may lose heat at a rapid rate. This is called hypothermia. If hypothermia occurs, the patient can suffer complications such as infections and loss of blood.
In the late 1980s, Dr. Scott Augustine invented the Bair Hugger warming blanket to address this issue. The Bair Hugger consists of a disposable blanket that is lined with tubes. A blower unit attached to the blanket heats and forces air through the tubes, warming the patient’s body.
According to news reports, the Bair Hugger has been used in more than 200 million surgeries since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the medical device in 1987. In fact, it is now used today in 80 percent of U.S. hospitals.
Minnesota-based Arizant Healthcare, Inc., is the manufacturer of the Bair Hugger. The global technology company, 3M, acquired Arizant in 2010.
Despite the Bair Hugger’s widespread use, the inventor, Dr. Augustine, now warns that the device can expose patients to the risk of infections. (He has since come out with a competing patient-warming device that uses different technology.)
Additionally, patients across the country have filed lawsuits against 3M and Arizant, claiming that they suffered serious infections during their orthopedic surgeries which involved the Bair Hugger.
In addition to Dr. Augustine’s warnings about the Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming System, studies have come out that have raised red flags about the device.
In particular, there is a concern that the Bair Hugger may contaminate patients’ open wounds due to two suspected flaws:
A study that appeared in 2011 in The Bone & Joint Journal in the United Kingdom found a “significant increase in deep joint infection” associated with the use of a forced air patient-warming device during simulated orthopedic surgeries.
Another study published in 2013 in The Bone & Joint Journal identified “tornado-like vortexes” created by the device, which could suction contaminated air from the operating room floor and spread it over a patient’s open wound.
According to Dr. Augustine, these problems could cause a patient to suffer a deep joint infection – especially if the Bair Hugger is used during knee or hip implant operations. The infection could lead to pain and suffering, cause permanent disability and require a patient to undergo revision surgery, the doctor states.
If you or a loved one has suffered a deep joint infection or other complications after undergoing an orthopedic procedure, the defective medical device lawyers of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. can conduct an immediate investigation of your case.
Like most patients, you may be unaware of whether a Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming System was used during your surgery. Our lawyers know how to research medical records in order to find out that information.
We can also work with highly qualified medical experts who can help us to determine the role that a Bair Hugger device may have played in the development of your infection and other complications.
We can then proceed with taking legal steps that are aimed at seeking just compensation for all of your damages, including medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and more.
Currently, Bair Hugger lawsuits against 3M and Arizant are being litigated in courts across the country, including numerous federal court lawsuits that have been transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. This is known as multidistrict litigation, or an MDL.
An MDL is not a class-action lawsuit. In an MDL, each plaintiff retains a separate, distinct lawsuit and can make an independent decision on whether to go to trial or accept a settlement offer if one is made. However, to streamline pretrial matters, the lawsuits in an MDL are transferred to a single court.
We can work with you on arriving at the best strategy for pursuing compensation in your case. If your case becomes a part of wider, national litigation, we will make sure your rights and interests are fully protected.
You have only a limited time period in which you can bring a lawsuit based on injuries caused by a defective medical product. If you fail to file a claim before that time period expires, you can lose your right to seek compensation.
If you believe that you or a loved one has been harmed by a Bair Hugger warming blanket, don’t wait to take action. Call Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. today or reach us through our online form. We serve clients in Chicago and throughout Illinois. We are ready to go to work for you today.
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