ST. PAUL, Minn. — 3M Co. recently recalled over 33,000 cases of its Bair Hugger warming blanket due to a design flaw that would prevent the devices from working as intended, according to the Star Tribune.
The medium-severity Class 2 recall was ordered because of a design change that would make underbody warming blankets susceptible to an airflow blockage, which could prevent a patient from receiving sufficient warming during surgery.
Bair Hugger warming blankets are used to maintain a patient’s body temperature during surgery so as to prevent hypothermia, prevent infection, and promote healing. 3M manufactures several different types of Bair Hugger blankets, but the recent recall affects only the “underbody” blankets, which lie completely underneath the patient during surgery.
The recall notice warned healthcare providers to identify and discard any of these underbody blankets with the design flaw, which includes about 33,108 cases of five units each distributed worldwide and throughout the United States.
3M has previously faced criticism and litigation over its Bair Hugger devices and their alleged connection with serious infections in patients.
Patients claim that the air circulation intended to maintain body temperature can also blow bacteria-laden air into the surgical site and cause deep-joint infections. These kinds of infections are very difficult to treat and can lead to serious conditions like MRSA or sepsis.
Other complications from infections include revision surgery, permanent impairment of mobility, amputation, and even death.
3M noted that the allegations brought against them in lawsuits are in no way related to the recent recall, and the company maintains that the device has been proven to be safe for patients.
Which Bair Hugger Devices are Affected by the Recall?
The recall applies to Bair Hugger underbody warming blankets with a design flaw that can cause an airflow blockage. An airflow blockage can lead to a blanket that is under-inflated during surgery, which can prevent the patient from receiving enough warmth.
According to the Star Tribune, the recalled lot numbers include:
What Lawsuits Have Been Filed Against Bair Hugger?
As of late 2017, 3M was battling lawsuits from more than 50 patients who claimed the Bair Hugger devices caused them to suffer from serious infections.
Bair Hugger warming blankets work by pushing warm air through the blanket which in turn warms the patient’s body during surgery. Plaintiffs allege that the device can actually push contaminated air into surgical sites. This can cause sever, difficult-to-treat infections, especially during knee and hip replacement surgeries.
Several of the Bair Hugger cases were consolidated into multidistrict litigation in Minnesota in 2015. The judge has now chosen five bellwether cases to go to trial beginning in early 2018.
The outcomes of these bellwether trials could affect settlements and the progression of additional cases moving forward.
Despite the evidence that countless patients have brought forward detailing the complications they suffered as a result of the Bair Hugger blankets, 3M maintains that the devices are safe and that there is no scientific evidence that prove the risk of infection. However, the inventor of the device, Dr. Scott Augustine, has consistently advocated for Bair Hugger blankets to no longer be used in surgeries.
What are the Criteria for Filing a Bair Hugger Lawsuit?
The 3M Bair Hugger is a force hot air warming blanket, used primarily to help maintain a patient’s body temperature during surgery. The 3M Bair Hugger pushes warm air through a flexible hose into a blanket draped over a patient.
However, warming blankets can recirculate contaminated air over a patient’s body, including over an open surgical site. This may result in infections like MRSA or sepsis.
In particular, patients undergoing knee or hip replacement surgery are at risk of infections deep in the joint, which is very difficult to treat.
Complications from these infections include hospitalization, implant revision surgery, limited mobility, permanent disability, amputation and death.
To file a Bair Hugger Lawsuit, the following criteria must be met:
- Underwent total hip or total knee replacement
- Surgery occurred after September 9, 2010
- Infection occurred within one year of the hip or knee replacement
- Infection was so severe that it resulted in the eventual removal of the initial hip or knee replacement device
Can I File A Bair Hugger Lawsuit?
Our dangerous device attorneys can help if you or someone you care about was harmed by a Bair Hugger warming blanket.
Lawsuits have been filed against the device makers by both patients and their families seeking compensation for injuries caused. You may be entitled to a settlement.
We do not charge any legal fees unless you receive a settlement and we pay all of the case costs. If your claim is not successful for any reason, you do not owe us anything. We put it all in writing for you.
Our No Fee Promise on Bair Hugger Cases
You can afford to have our great team of lawyers on your side. When you choose us, it literally costs nothing to get started. We promise you in writing:
- No money to get started
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- No legal fees whatsoever unless you receive a settlement
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How Do I Start A Bair Hugger Warming Blanket Claim?
Our Bair Hugger lawyers will help you file your lawsuit. To get started, you can:
- Submit the Free Case Review Box on this page, or
- Call (866) 280-4722 any time of day to tell us about your case.
We will listen to your story and answer your questions. If you have claim, we will start immediately.
WARNING: There are strict time deadlines for filing Bair Hugger warming blanket lawsuit claims.