Forced Air Warmer Lawsuits

Forced Air Warmer Lawsuits

Our dangerous products lawyers are currently interviewing plaintiffs for potential forced air warmer lawsuits after they have suffered serious infections resulting from use of the Bair Hugger or a similar device following knee or hip replacement surgery. The Bair Hugger is a forced air warming system which may speed recovery and reduce bleeding in patients undergoing surgery. However, it has been alleged that the Bair Hugger and other forced air systems may allow contaminated air to be circulated across the wounds of knee or hip replacement patients, which could lead to infections including MRSA deep within a patient’s joints.

Bair Hugger, Forced Air Warmer Infection Risks

The Bair Hugger is a forced air warming device which was invented by Dr. Scott Augustine and has been in use in hospitals for the past two decades. This device is comprised of a heater which blows warmed air through a special blanket to help keep patients warm and promote healing. However, Dr. Augustine himself has warned that use of the Bair Hugger for certain patients may increase the risk of very serious infections.

In 2010, Dr. Augustine told the New York Times that in some cases the Bair Hugger "is a danger to patients receiving implant devices like artificial heart valves and joints because the forced air can spread bacteria associated with hospital-acquired infections." According to Dr. Augustine, bacteria or other contaminants in the air near the floor of an operating room may be picked up by the forced air warmer and increase the risk of hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA, causing potential sepsis and deep-joint infections. This may lead to:

  • Additional surgical operations
  • Treatment with IV antibiotics
  • Hip or knee replacement revision surgery
  • Physical therapy
  • Amputation

A study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery in 2012 supported Dr. Augustine’s claims about the risks of the Bair Hugger, finding that air circulated over a surgical wound by forced air warmer blankets may carry more than 2,000 times more contaminants than other warming systems.

Bair Hugger and Forced Air Warmer Lawsuit Consultations

To date, more than one patient has filed a Bair Hugger lawsuit, alleging that the company behind the Bair Hugger, 3M, knew of potential risks of this forced air warmer but failed to warn or protect patients. A Texas man sued 3M in 2013 based on claims that use of a Bair Hugger device following hip replacement surgery caused contaminated air to be circulated through the surgical field, which led to an infection so serious that he required 15 additional operations. Additionally, a knee replacement patient from Kansas also filed a Bair Hugger lawsuit based on claims that the plaintiff required leg amputation after MRSA was spread by a potentially dangerous forced air warmer.

If you or someone you love suffered a serious infection or even burns after a forced air warmer such as the Bair Hugger was used following knee or hip replacement surgery, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit in pursuit of compensation for damages such as:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Permanent disability
  • Pain and suffering

For more information, please contact an experienced dangerous products attorney today to schedule a free legal consultation.