Infection prevention is a serious matter in surgical facilities around the nation. Anything that increases the rate of infection merits serious attention.

Bair Hugger® forced air warming products are used by hospitals to keep a patient warm during surgery, or as doctors might say, to prevent “intraoperative hypothermia.” Bair Hugger® blankets are used in hospitals in the country, with more than 200 million patients having been covered by the blanket since 1987. Bair Hugger® Bair Hugger® According to the inventor of the blanket, Arizant knew about the issues with the blanket when 3M bought it from them in 2010. But if recent claims are true, forced-air warming may put patients at serious risk of infection. According to the original inventor of the Bair Hugger® , Dr. Scott Augustine, use of the Bair Hugger® results in a dramatically increased rate of infection.

The Claims

Bair Hugger® works by circulating heated air across a patient’s body during surgery. The air comes from a connected heater and blower and, according to both Dr. Augustine and other scientific articles, the Bair Hugger® may cause infections in at least two ways: (1) by interrupting the unidirectional or ‘Laminar’ airflow in the operating room, and (2) by introducing heat. The basic understanding is by changing airflow and introducing heat to the OR, the Bair Hugger® may deposit contaminated air onto the patient.

Infection following surgery is a significant problem, and that problem is heightened for patients undergoing total joint replacement surgery. In addition to the risk of additional surgical procedures, these patients face a risk of amputation, or even death as a result of infection.

What to Do

Patients who were diagnosed with an infection after a surgery where the Bair Hugger® was used may be entitled to compensation. On December 11, 2015, lawsuits filed in federal courts across the nation were consolidated for ‘pretrial purposes’ in MDL 2666: In re: Bair Hugger® Forced Air Warming Products Liability Litigation. Patients who recently had surgery who are experiencing infection symptoms such as fever, swelling, discharge, pain, or tenderness should see a medical professional as soon as possible. For more information on Bair Hugger® blankets and the potential connection with surgical infections, contact Meshbesher & Spence at 612.339.9121.