Lawsuits are heating up (excuse the pun) with the 3M Company’s Bair Hugger warming blankets. These are the blankets utilized to keep over 200 million pre-surgical patients warm while they awaited surgery in the operating room. The allegations of the lawsuits are that the blankets actually circulate contaminants that cause deep joint infections in unsuspecting patients. While 3M is vehemently claiming plaintiffs in the lawsuits are making their claims based upon what they term as bad science, the lawsuits are not going away. It seems to bolster the claims of the plaintiffs when Dr. Scott Augustine, the sometimes controversial inventor of the blankets, is going to testify for the plaintiffs that the blankets he came up bring a greater risk of infection, especially in the cases of joint surgeries. He has completed flipped and is calling for the blankets to no longer be used, especially when it comes to orthopedic surgeries where the highest risk of infections from the blankets has been seen.
To give a little information on how contaminants are being circulated with use of the Bair Hugger blankets, it must be understood that the blankets have a row of inflatable tubes that fill up with hot air from a separate warming unit connected to those tubes by a hose. Dr. Augustine contends it has been shown that waste heat from that warming unit accumulates under the operating table, creating convection currents that bring up contaminants from the floor and mess with the usual flow of sterile air inside an OR. This will actually cause contaminant particles to embed into a knee or hip implant, making the deep joint infections become a reality. There are fifty plaintiffs to date in the cases against 3M and their attorneys are seeking to show that the stirred up contaminants from the Bair systems are more likely than not the cause of subsequent infections after their use.
If you or a loved one has suffered a dangerous infection following a surgery in which the Bair Hugger blanket was used, do not hesitate to contact the caring professionals at Inserra & Kelley Law Offices to see if you may have a claim. As an informed patient, be sure to talk with your doctor about the warming device that will be used in pre-op when you are scheduling surgery.