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3M Bair Hugger Caused Catastrophic Complications 

3M Bair Hugger Caused Catastrophic Complications 

3M Bair Hugger forced air warming blankets are often used in surgery, especially hip and knee replacement surgeries. According to Tracy Crawford these are both defective and dangerous. As such, she filed a personal injury and product liability lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota recently.

Crawford claims she developed a catastrophic infection after she used one during her orthopedic knee replacements. As such, she’s filed the claim against both the 3M Company and its Arizant Healthcare subsidiary saying they sold these unreasonably dangerous warming blankets. She goes on to say they used them to stabilize her body’s temperature during the surgery, but because bacteria and contaminants from the operating room’s floor were on the blankets they then entered her surgical wound causing a massive infection. This led doctors to have to remove her knee implant and replace it with an antibiotic spacer because the infection was so deep. It took her many months of doctors’ visits before she could have another artificial knee placed in her body and then she’s had to have many more surgeries in the months that have followed.

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The Issues with 3M Heating Blankets

maxresdefaultThe problem with these heating blankets is the forced air system the blanket creates affects the operating room’s luminar flow. What this essentially means is bacteria from the floor can enter your surgical wound. Studies have actually shown the use of these blankets causes a lot of contaminant particles to enter the surgical room’s air, causing serious infections once the joint replacement surgery is complete.

To understand why this happens you must first understand how the Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming Blanket actually works. Since orthopedic joint replacement surgeries (e.g. knee and hip replacement surgeries) typically take a long time, your body temperature will undoubtedly drop because you don’t move while anesthetized. Developers created the hot air blanket to help keep you warm by stabilizing your core body temperature, thus reducing the risk of bleeding, which should then lead to better surgical outcomes.

Lawsuits Against 3M

542Unfortunately, there have been many lawsuits of this nature recently filed against 3M because of their Bair Hugger warming blanket. All of them allege the same thing: they’ve developed major injuries or infections, needed additional surgeries, had problems with immobility, and sometimes even needed amputation because they used these in their first surgery. In fact, the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has received an application asking them to consolidate such lawsuits.

Many people expect the MDL will wind up in Minnesota’s federal court since the headquarters of 3M is in Minneapolis. This would allow for both efficacy and a quicker road to trial since all the parties would then be under one roof so one judge could handle all the litigation. Until this actually happens, there are still over 50,000 warming blankets being used in hospitals throughout the United States today.

The lawsuits that they filed claim 3M has known about this issue for many years now but they haven’t made any changes or sent out any warnings to doctors or hospitals.