Raizner Slania has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a New York man after he sustained a severe infection from the Bair Hugger warming blanket manufactured by 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare.
In September 2012, the plaintiff underwent a right total hip arthroplasty in which the Bair Hugger was used throughout the scope of the procedure. The Bair Hugger warming blanket is used to regulate body temperature, which can help reduce bleeding risks and shorten hospital stays. However, the device introduced contaminants into the plaintiff’s open surgical wounds, causing him to develop a periprosthetic joint infection (PJI). The pathogens identified were staphylococcus aureus and gram-positive cocci.
Staphylococcus aureus is a type of the common Staph infection found in the nose and respiratory tract. While the bacteria exist naturally in the nose and respiratory tract, when Staphylococcus aureus is present in other areas of the body, it can cause serious infections that are very difficult to treat.
As a result of his infection caused by the Bair Hugger, the plaintiff was forced to undergo multi-stage removal and revision surgeries, placement and removal of antibiotic spacers, irrigation and debridement, aspirations, and long-term PICC line antibiotics to treat the infection.
Because of the extensive medical treatment needed to fight the infection, the plaintiff suffered not only physically, but economically as well. He believes 3M and Arizant failed to adequately warn him of the infection risk associated with the Bair Hugger. The plaintiff alleges the Bair Hugger warming blanket is defective in design and manufacture.
How The Bair Hugger Works
The Bair Hugger consists of a blanket with holes that is draped over the patient and a unit that distributes air into the blanket. The Bair Hugger sucks up air from the operating room and forces it into the blanket and out of the holes in the blanket to help regulate body temperature. Unfortunately, while sucking in air, the Bair Hugger also sucks in contaminants in the operating room and directs them to a patient’s open surgical wounds, causing infections.