If you've ever had orthopedic surgery, chances are good that a Bair Hugger was used to keep you warm during the procedure. The blankets with the forced air systems have been used for nearly 30 years in over 200 million surgeries.
In the United States, four out of five medical facilities use these single-use surgical devices, which consist of inflated tubes of hot air that prevent heat loss from the patients' bodies during surgery. They are priced between $6 and $24.
Yet scores of surgical patients are now suing the 3M Co., claiming the device allowed contamination that caused serious infections to their surgical sites. However, the company spokesperson stated that "3M will vigorously defend the product and the science against these unwarranted lawsuits."
According to plaintiffs' attorneys, research indicates that the forced air spreads contaminants in the surgical suite, and some pose severe infection risks for the patients.
Defective medical products are particularly dangerous, as often they are used on patients who already are medically compromised due to their debilitated conditions. Introducing contaminants into a sterile surgical wound can result in deadly complications that can delay or prevent healing entirely.
If you had orthopedic surgery where a Bair Hugger was used, and you suffered complications from infections, it is possible that the device caused contaminants to enter your surgical wound. It may be possible for you to receive compensation for the damages you suffered during your procedure.
Identifying the potential defendants and filing a claim for damages are the first steps to take in the process of pursuing civil litigation.
Source: Star Tribune, "Lawsuits turn up heat on 3M's Bair Hugger warming blankets," Joe Carlson, accessed March 11, 2016