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Bair Hugger Warning Blanket Lawsuits: Legal Options with Eric Blank

When patients undergo surgery, their body temperature frequently drops. To combat this, hospitals and surgical centers may use a Bair Hugger, also known as a warming blanket. Forced air is used in these blankets to regulate a patient's temperature and prevent hypothermia. However, the Bair Hugger warming blanket has been the subject of debate in recent years due to its potential link to serious complications.

As a personal injury law firm, Eric Blank Injury Attorneys can provide assistance to victims who have suffered injuries due to the Bair Hugger warming blanket in seeking justice and fair compensation.

Warming Blankets

A warming blanket is a medical device used to keep a patient warm during surgery or recovery. Warming blankets come in a variety of styles, but most use forced air to circulate warm air around the patient's body.

The primary use of a warming blanket is to prevent hypothermia, which is a condition that can occur when a person's body temperature drops below normal. Hypothermia can lead to a range of complications, including impaired immune function, blood loss, and longer recovery times.

Bair Hugger

Arizant Healthcare (now 3M) developed and introduced the Bair Hugger warming blanket in 1987 as a medical device to prevent hypothermia in surgical patients. Because of its effectiveness in regulating body temperature during surgeries, the device quickly gained popularity in the medical community.

The Bair Hugger warming system operates by using a blower to circulate warm air through a flexible hose and into a disposable blanket that covers the patient. The blanket is designed to be discarded after each use, reducing the risk of infection and ensuring that the patient is protected from cross-contamination.

The Bair Hugger is available in a variety of sizes and styles to accommodate different patients and surgical procedures. It is particularly useful for procedures where the patient's body temperature is likely to drop, such as joint replacement surgeries, where maintaining a stable body temperature can improve patient outcomes.

The device is widely used in hospitals and surgical centers worldwide, and it has been credited with lowering the risk of complications and improving patient comfort during surgery.

Health Risks and Potential Complications

The Bair Hugger warming blanket is intended to prevent hypothermia and maintain a stable body temperature during surgeries, but there have been concerns raised about the device's safety and the possibility of serious complications in some patients. Several studies on the potential negative effects and complications of the Bair Hugger warming blanket have been conducted.

One of the most well-known studies, published in the Bone & Joint Journal in 2013, discovered that the Bair Hugger may increase the risk of deep joint infection during hip and knee replacement surgery. Other research has found that the Bair Hugger can increase the risk of surgical site infections, particularly in patients undergoing orthopedic surgery, and that some patients have required additional surgeries to treat infections caused by the device.

While not all patients who use the Bair Hugger warming system will develop complications, the device is known to cause deep joint infections (DJI), burns and skin irritation, infections, allergic reactions, and hematomas. The design of the Bair Hugger has the potential to spread bacteria, increasing the risk of DJIs in some patients, and the disposable blankets used with the Bair Hugger may not be completely sterile, leading to infections. Furthermore, the warming system can cause hematomas, which are blood pockets that form beneath the skin, and patients may develop allergic reactions to the materials used in the disposable blankets or the cleaning products used to sterilize the warming system.

The Bair Hugger warming blanket comes in a variety of models, but the ones at the center of the controversy are the 3M Bair Hugger 500 and Bair Hugger 700 series devices. These models have been the subject of numerous lawsuits and defect allegations, and they are currently at the center of the Bair Hugger multidistrict litigation (MDL). The 3M Bair Hugger 500 and 700 series devices are widely used in hospitals and medical facilities all over the world, especially during orthopedic surgeries.

There have been no official recalls of the Bair Hugger warming blanket to date. Several lawsuits, however, have claimed that the device is defective and should be recalled, while 3M has vehemently defended the device, claiming that it is safe and effective when used as directed.

Bair Hugger Lawsuits

Despite 3M's defense, several lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer alleging that the Bair Hugger warming blanket caused serious complications in patients.

  • In 2016, a Minnesota woman filed a lawsuit against 3M, claiming that the Bair Hugger caused her to develop an infection

following hip replacement surgery. The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

  • In 2017, a New Jersey woman filed a lawsuit against 3M, claiming that the Bair Hugger caused her to suffer burns during surgery. The case was settled for an undisclosed amount.
  • In 2018, a jury in Texas awarded $43 million to a patient who claimed that the Bair Hugger caused a deep joint infection following knee replacement surgery.
  • In 2018, a Pennsylvania man filed a lawsuit against 3M, alleging that the Bair Hugger caused him to develop a serious infection following hip replacement surgery. The case is still ongoing.
  • In 2019, 3M agreed to pay $30 million to resolve over 1,000 lawsuits alleging injuries caused by the Bair Hugger warming blanket.
  • In 2020, a man in Kentucky filed a lawsuit against 3M, alleging that the Bair Hugger caused him to develop a serious infection following knee replacement surgery. The case is still ongoing.

Timeline for Bair Hugger MDL

  • In 1987, the FDA approved the Bair Hugger as a surgical warming device.
  • The first Bair Hugger lawsuit was filed by patient Tommy Walton in 2013, in which he asked for $1 million in damages.
  • From 2013 to 2015, over a dozen other patients filed lawsuits in federal courts.
  • In December 2015, a federal panel combined the first 14 Bair Hugger lawsuits into a multidistrict litigation (MDL).
  • In August 2017, the MDL judge selected five cases for bellwether trials.
  • In May 2018, the manufacturer of the Bair Hugger, 3M, won the first bellwether trial in Minneapolis.
  • By April 2019, a total of 5,659 Bair Hugger lawsuits had been filed, with 5,036 remaining pending in the MDL.
  • In August 2019, U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen dismissed all remaining cases in the MDL.
  • In December 2022, the Bair Hugger class action MDL was formally reopened. Plaintiffs sent a letter of their own to MDL Judge

Ericksen objecting to 3M's proposed schedule for the MDL moving forward and highlighting new scientific evidence.

Filing a Lawsuit

Patients who have suffered injuries or complications as a result of using the Bair Hugger warming blanket may be entitled to compensation through a lawsuit against the device's manufacturer, 3M. Generally, those who may have a viable claim include patients who have undergone surgeries in which the Bair Hugger was used and have developed injuries or complications such as deep joint infections, burns or skin irritation, infections, allergic reactions, or hematomas. Additionally, family members who may have suffered as a result of the patient's injuries may also be eligible to file a lawsuit.

If you or a loved one have been harmed by the Bair Hugger warming blanket, it is crucial to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer. A qualified personal injury lawyer can provide you with invaluable legal guidance and support throughout the process of pursuing a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the Bair Hugger warming blanket. With their expertise and dedication, a skilled personal injury attorney can help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

Eric Blank Injury Attorneys Can Help

At Eric Blank Injury Attorneys, we have extensive experience representing clients in product liability cases, including those involving medical devices such as Bair Hugger. Our team of personal injury attorneys can help you understand your legal options and pursue compensation. We can assist you in filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the Bair Hugger warming blanket and seeking damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses related to your injury.

At Eric Blank Injury Attorneys, we are committed to providing high-quality legal representation to our clients. Contact Eric Blank Injury Attorneys today at (702) 222-2115 (702) 222-2115 or visit www.ericblanklaw.com for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help you pursue justice and fair compensation.

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