Bair Hugger™ Warming Blanket

Infections Caused By Bair Hugger™ Warming Blanket 

Did you suffer a serious infection after the hospital used a 3M Bair Hugger™ warming blanket during your surgery? Call the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo at 1-877-529-1222 to discuss your legal rights.

Warming Blankets Used to Prevent Inadvertent Perioperative Hypothermia

Inadvertent perioperative hypothermia (IPH) is a common side-effect of general anesthesia during surgery. IPH can contribute to several quite serious complications, including a higher risk of bleeding and cardiovascular events. Hospitals have therefore made it standard practice to use warming blankets on patients during surgery in order to prevent their body temperature from dropping during surgery.

There are several different types of warming blankets, including thermal, electric and, more recently, forced air warming blankets.

The Risks of Using a Forced Air Warming Blanket

The Bair Hugger™ warming blanket is a disposable blanket that connects to a portable heater via a hose. The heater blows warmed air through the hose, into the blanket and onto the patient’s skin.

Although the Bair Hugger™ keeps the patient warm, research has shown it can potentially cause air to circulate around the operating table, “kicking up” bacteria (such as MRSA) and contaminants from the floor that then settle into the surgical site.

A 2011 study by the Bone and Joint Journal compared the capacity of patient warming devices to disrupt the ultra-clean airflow system.  The two patient warming technologies studied were forced air (the method used by technologies like the Bair Hugger device) and conductive fabric, an air-free technology similar in theory to that of an electric blanket, where electricity is converted into heat without the use of air.  The study showed that forced air patient devices like those used by devices such as the Bair Hugger, can increase the risk of deep joint infection by 380% compared to the use of conductive fabric warming.  The abstract of that study can be viewed by clicking here:

Catastrophic Infections

Although infection is always a risk with any type of surgery, some infections can be catastrophic. Patients with serious infections may face:

•Long hospitalizations
•Weeks or months of antibiotics
•Additional surgeries
•Tissue removal
•Implant removal

After a serious infection is treated, some patients may not regain full capacity and are unable to take care of even their own most basic needs.

Recently filed lawsuits claim that 3M knew the risks associated with the Bair Hugger™ Warming Blanket but didn’t redesign the product or issue any warnings. Even the doctor who invented the Bair Hugger™ has stated publically that hospitals should stop using the Bair Hugger™ warming blanket.

In 2010, an article in the New York Times revealed that Dr. Scott D. Augustine, who invented the Bair Hugger™ warming blanket, wanted hospitals to stop using the device during certain operations, asserting this it poses a danger to patients.  That article can be viewed here:

Despite this, 3M continues to market the Bair Hugger™ as safe.

We Can Help

If you or someone you care about suffered a serious infection after an implant surgery, contact the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo today for a free and confidential case evaluation. We can help you make informed decisions about your legal rights. Please call us at Toll-Free: 1-877-529-1222 for your free legal consultation.