Approximately 6,000 lawsuits have been filed against 3M, the manufacturer of the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket, a surgical device intended to maintain a patient’s body temperature during surgery. The lawsuits allege that the device caused serious bodily injury or, in some cases, death. It is further alleged that 3M had knowledge of these potential risks, and failed to take action to prevent harm or warn patients and medical professionals of the risks associated with use of the device.
In 2021, all Bair Hugger lawsuits against 3M were dismissed. However, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals recently reinstated all Bair Hugger lawsuits against 3M on behalf of the victims. The Honorable Judge Joan N. Ericksen appointed a retired magistrate judge to mediate all Bair Hugger lawsuits. This development presents a high increase in the likelihood of a settlement for Bair Hugger victims. Please note that failure to settle at mediation will likely result in the case’s return to court for litigation.
If you suffered an injury or a loss of a loved one as a result of the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket, you now have recourse to recover damages.
Was the Bair Hugger Used During Your Surgical Procedure or Operation?
The Bair Hugger Warming Blanket is a device used during surgery to maintain the patient’s body temperature and prevent hypothermia. In surgery, the patient’s body goes into a state of shock, which commonly causes body temperature to plummet. The Bair Hugger was developed to prevent this phenomenon by keeping the patient’s body temperature at 98.6 throughout surgery. The device can be described as a pipe attached to a disposable blanket-like pouch filled with a continuous flow of hot air to keep the patient warm.
Why the Bair Hugger is So Dangerous for Patients
In surgical rooms, the air must be sterile to prevent infection in open wounds. Hospital surgery rooms must use an air circulation system that sanitizes the air and kills bacteria before the air is recirculated. Studies have shown that use of the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket prevents proper air circulation and sanitization during surgery. The air circulation system normally pushes the unclean air up, to be sterilized. However, when the Bair Hugger is in use, the hot air that is continuously blown into the blanket disrupts air flow and traps the unclean air under the surgical table where the bacteria is left to colonize, exacerbated by the hot air. The hot bacteria-filled air then flows above the surgery table.
In many cases, the bacteria-filled air begins to penetrate the patient's open wounds, which can lead to infections that are untreatable in some cases, such as MRSA. The complications are most serious in surgeries that involve joints, such as those in the knee and hip. For this reason, knee and hip surgeries are the most likely to result in infections caused by the Bair Hugger Blanket.
The Bair Hugger Caused Amputations in Some Cases and Death in Others
The Bair Hugger Warming Blanket has been shown to cause serious complications in many patients. As noted above, patients undergoing surgery involving the knee and hip joints were particularly susceptible to serious infection and complications. The use of the Bair Hugger blanket during surgery has caused thousands of patients to develop the MRSA virus in their joints. The MRSA virus is resistant to medication and can be nearly impossible to treat when lodged deep inside a joint. The virus can necessitate multiple surgeries and, in some cases, amputation, in order to cure it or keep it from spreading. In cases where efforts to cure the virus fail, patients become susceptible to death. Now, these patients and families who have lost loved ones due to this device can recover financially for the pain and suffering they have endured.
3M Knew the Bair Hugger Was Dangerous
There is ample evidence that 3M knew that the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket was dangerous, yet continued to sell and market it actively. The original inventor of the Bair Hugger actually warned 3M in 2010 that the device was dangerous and needed to be recalled. In response, 3M not only elected not to issue a recall but sued the inventor for slander, alleging that his claims about the product's dangers were false. 3M continued their efforts to sell the device.
How Do I Bring a Lawsuit?
The best way to bring a lawsuit against 3M for an injury or death related to the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket is to contact an experienced personal injury and mass tort attorney. The attorneys at BK Law are currently conducting assessments to determine eligibility to bring claims. If you are wondering whether you have standing to bring a lawsuit against 3M, the time to take action is now, and you can do so by contacting the attorneys at BK Law. A personal injury lawsuit aims to restore the victim to the position they would have been in financially, had the accident never occurred. This means that you can collect compensation for all financial damages incurred as a result of the injury or death. You are also entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. In some cases, such as this one, punitive damages may also be appropriate.
Contact BK Law to Learn About Your Legal Options
If you suffered a serious injury, such as an infection or amputation, or lost a loved one due to the use of the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket, you now have recourse to seek compensation. Contact BK Law today to find out if you are eligible to bring a lawsuit. Our lawyers will review the facts of your case and fight to ensure that you get the maximum amount of compensation for your loss or injury.