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After a knee, hip, shoulder, or other orthopedic implant or replacement surgery, some patients develop serious infections from bacteria that enter the body during or shortly after surgery. Patients who have filed cases against 3M assert that the use of a “forced air warming” device called the Bair Hugger during surgery can increase a patient’s odds of developing a serious deep-joint infection.
Post-surgical infections can require an increased length of hospitalization or additional hospital stays, additional surgery, the prescription of strong additional medications, and even necessitate the removal of the medical device. In severe cases, the infection can even result in amputation. Serious infections can take time to show up in a noticeable way. The germs that get into your body can take several months after the initial implant surgery to cause symptoms. If you even think you might have an infection following surgery, you should consult a medical professional as soon as possible.
The 3M Bair Hugger is a surgical blanket called a “forced air warming” device. The device can be draped over a patient during surgery in order to warm the body temperature and speed up recovery. The device is a composite blanket with holes in it from which the warm air is disbursed over the patient. The warm air is pumped through a hose into the blanket, then onto the patient.
The vast majority of hospitals in the United States use forced air warming during surgery, and the Bair Hugger is the market leader. That means if you have had a hip, knee or shoulder joint replacement surgery in the past five years, a Bair Hugger was probably used, and it will be reflected in your medical records. The problem with the Bair Hugger is that it disrupts what is called “positive air flow” in the operating room. Every operating room is a sterile environment, and positive air flow means air comes down from the top of the room and pushes bacteria to the floor of the room, keeping the room above the floor sterile from bacteria. The Bair Hugger injects heat in a non-sterile way, and the warm air rises above the operating floor carrying with it bacteria that can enter the patient’s body causing deep joint infections.
Raizner Slania is investigating 3M Bair Hugger lawsuits on behalf of individuals who developed serious infections, including deep-joint infections, peri-prosthetic joint infections, MRSA or sepsis, following hip, knee, shoulder, or other joint replacement surgery. You may not even know that your post-surgical treatment involved the use of a forced air warming system. The device carries warmed air through a hose to a special blanket that is draped over a patient during surgery. The air forced to surround the patient warms them, but can also spread bacteria associated with hospital-acquired infections.
If you or a loved one were injured or died as a result of a post-operative infection, you may qualify to file a defective medical device lawsuit against 3M to obtain financial compensation for your damages. Lawsuits are already on file, alleging that joint implant and replacement patients treated with the Bair Hugger during surgery were exposed to contaminated air from operating room floors.
Several product liability claims involving this device are already pending in state courts across the country, as there are time limitations associated with medical device lawsuits. The time limitations can vary by state, which means that if you even suspect you or someone you know was affected that you must contact a lawyer as soon as possible. If the infection developed within the past five years, we can often help, though you should not delay if you suspect that you may have a claim.
As early as 2010, the New York Times reported that the inventor of a widely used piece of surgical equipment, the Bair Hugger, wanted hospitals to stop using the device during certain operations. The medical device keeps patients warm during surgery to reduce post-operative bleeding and hasten the recovery process; however, its own inventor believes it is a danger to surgical patients receiving implant devices.
Patients who had a total hip or knee implant replacement that developed infection in the last five years may be entitled to compensation. Our attorneys are currently offering free, no-obligation legal reviews to individuals who may have suffered a hip or knee replacement infection due to the 3M Bair Hugger. Call Raizner Slania at (844) 456-5065 to learn more about your legal rights.