Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents people with medical device injuries suffered during a surgical procedure and other types of professional negligence. Our law firm has collected a series of Bair Hugger accident lawsuit FAQs related to the medical and legal aspects of an accident involving defective medical devices. Should you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights.
Bair Hugger FAQs
The 3M Bair Hugger medical device is a patient warming system that uses convective temperature management technology. The device is used before, during and after hospital surgical procedures to ensure that the patient's core body temperature is maintained within a specified range of temperature degrees. The warming blanket is designed for single-use and can be disposed after use. While the 3M Bair hugger is considered a must-use device in many procedures, there are known associated problems that have been reported to the FDA, device manufacturer and doctors. Some of these health issues include:
- Developing MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), a highly contagious bacterial infection
- Developing sepsis, a life-threatening blood infection
Our team of legal experts has compiled a list of the most common Bair Hugger accident lawsuit frequently asked questions and provided the answers below.
Why doctors use the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket?
Before, during and after many highly complicated surgical procedures, the surgeons must ensure that the patient's core body temperature remains within a specific range. While under anesthesia, the patient's body can cool down causing significant complications. Maintaining the body at a particular temperature during the procedure can reduce bleeding and swelling and shorten the patient's recovery time. The warming blanket has been known to improve the surgical outcome significantly.
How does the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket work?
The product manufacturer created the device using a hybrid design that uses forced heated air blown into a plastic blanket that provides a warm covering that assists in maintaining body temperature.
What are the known problems associated with the blanket?
Since the manufacturer first offered the warming blanket in the medical marketplace, there been significant health problems using it in the operating room. The device is known to cause infections that invade the body at the surgical site. Some believe that the design of the hygienic ventilation system spreads contamination by kicking up tiny particles and contaminated dust in the room that hovers over the patient's open incision.
What are the known risks associated with hip and knee surgical infections?
Any surgery-associated infections can be a severe, life-threatening problem. When the surgeon opens the hip or knee area during the procedure, airborne bacteria can land inside the open site and settle deep in body tissues. After the surgeon closes the surgical site the settled bacteria can begin thriving in a perfect harboring environment for developing staph infections, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and sepsis that are both highly resistant to antibiotics.
What happens if an surgery-acquired infection is impossible to cure?
Doctors often struggled with treating a deep joint infection to avoid the need of making the patient undergo another surgery. Conventional treatment for deep joint infections include:
- Removal of the newly implanted knee or hip joint replacement device
- Perform a surgical procedure that diffuses the newly implanted joint
- Make the patient undergo various surgeries to revise the device
- In extreme cases – amputate the leg above the infection site
Not every patient with an infection is a candidate for revision surgery. Because of that, many doctors will choose to treat the life-threatening condition using long-term antibiotics. The results of taking massive doses of long-term antibiotics can be devastating to the health and well-being of the patient and might not cure the patient's infection.
How do I know if I have a Bair hugger warming blanket-related infection?
There are specific signs of an implant-associated infection that present in the days, weeks, months and years after an implant surgical procedure. These common symptoms include:
- Severe pain
- Drainage of the wound site
- Night Sweats
Infections developing at the surgical site tend to display various symptoms including delayed healing, redness, and tenderness with swelling at the implant site that is warm to the touch.
Is an amputation a severe complication associated with the warming blanket?
Yes. In extreme cases, Bair Hugger warming blankets are known to cause infections so severe that amputation is the only option to ensure the patient's survival. Many hip amputations require the removal of the limb. Life-threatening, incurable knee implant infections usually require removing the joint and lower leg.
Did the device manufacturer know of problems with the Bair Hugger warming blanket?
Absolutely. The 3M subsidiary Arizant Healthcare – Manufacturers of the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket has long known about the potential risk of developing a life-threatening infection when undergoing a surgical procedure that uses the device. However, they have not taken any specific precautions that reduce, diminish or eliminate the associated risks.
What does the device manufacturer say about problems with the device?
Bair Hugger manufacturer Arizant Healthcare encourages surgeons to continue using the device even though there are pending lawsuits. The company says that report shows the device does not hinder surgical procedures in the operating room by creating uncomfortable levels of heat. The manufacturer also states that using the device during a surgical procedure can reduce the potential risk of developing a severe surgical infection or another complication. The company stands by the “safety and efficacy” of their device and how it is used in millions of surgical procedures every year.
Is there another far safer alternative to using this warming blanket?
Yes. Surprisingly, the same doctor who developed the Bair Hugger warming blanket also created the Hot Dog warming device that is not designed to function using force heated air but heats using electricity. This newly designed medical device has now been used in over 50 countries because it is a safer and more effective compact controller.
What are the Bair Hugger devices still used today?
Doctors have access to numerous Bair Hugger therapy temperature management units sold in the medical marketplace. These devices include the 3M Bair Hugger model 505, model 750, and model 775 along with model 241, a blood/fluid warming set. In addition to the warming units, doctors can utilize three specific blankets for different surgical procedures. These blankets include:
- Lower Body Blanket – This blanket covers the patient's lower torso, feet, and legs while the surgeon is performing procedures to the patient's upper body half.
- Upper Body Blanket – This blanket covers the patient's upper torso, head, neck, and arms while the surgeon is performing procedures on the patient's lower body half.
- Torso Blanket – This blanket covers the patient's upper half from the lower abdominal region to up and over the head.
In addition to the warming units and associated blankets, the doctors can also use Bair Paws Gowns that are designed to maintain the desired body temperature over nearly in the entire patient's body.
Have patients filed lawsuits against 3M and its subsidiary Arizant Healthcare?
Yes, in fact, hundreds of plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit against the device manufacturer and its parent company 3M. These individuals have developed severe infections after undergoing a procedure where the surgeon used a Bair Hugger warming blanket. These cases are built on negligence by the product manufacturer who knew or should have known that their device has an increased risk of causing severe side, life-threatening effects and yet took no action to warn patients and doctors.
Currently, there are hundreds of filed lawsuits that are now being heard as a part of MDL (multidistrict litigation) in the US District Court for the District of Minnesota. Soon, the verdicts arising in the few bellwether cases being heard in court will set a standard as to how much every plaintiff can receive in the hundreds of other cases yet to be resolved.
Can I file a lawsuit if I only developed an infection?
Not at all. You could file a Bair Hugger lawsuit if you had a device removal or replacement operation, and amputation or developed sepsis or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections.
What are my legal options for filing a lawsuit?
If your loved one underwent a joint replacement surgical procedure and developed an infection or other serious medical condition, you likely have the right to seek financial compensation for monetary recovery. Numerous legal options may exist even if you are not 100% sure that your infection was the result of using the device. An attorney working on your behalf can examine all the evidence in your case and review medical records to determine if you have a right to financial compensation from those that caused your damages.
Can I wait to file a claim?
Not really. The state's statute of limitation law restricts the amount of time you must file a claim for monetary recovery. Failing to submit all the necessary documentation and paperwork before the statute expires could forfeit your right to seek financial compensation forever. Because of that, it is imperative to speak with an attorney today who can evaluate your case to determine what date the time limit expires.
How much can I receive in my compensation claim?
That is hard to say. Every case is unique, and the amount of financial compensation you would receive through a negotiated settlement or a jury trial award is difficult to predict. That said, an attorney working on your behalf can evaluate your case and identify all your past, current and future expenses associated with your injuries. Your attorney will seek to recover both economic and non-economic damages that include:
- Medical expenses
- Hospitalization costs
- Out of pocket expenses
- Time away from work
- The loss of future earning capacity associated with your temporary or permanent disabilities
- Pain, suffering and mental anxiety
- Wrongful death expenses including funeral bills and burial costs
How much you charge to review my case?
Our law firm provides initial, no-obligation case consultations at no charge to our potential clients, including you. Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule an appointment to discuss your case. We will listen to your complaints and review your medical records before offering numerous legal options on how to proceed to ensure your family receives the financial compensation you deserve. You can then decide if you want to continue to the next legal step to ensure the monetary recovery of your damages. However, you are under no obligation to use our legal services.
I am not sure I can afford an attorney. What can I do?
If you believe your loved one has suffered a deep joint infection or other life-threatening severe condition following a surgical procedure, the defective medical device attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers are here to help. Our law firm prosecutes defective medical device cases.
We urge you to contact our Illinois defective medical device liability law office at (888) 424-5757 to schedule your appointment today. To ensure a successful resolution of your case, our attorneys will hire highly qualified medical experts to provide compelling testimony during the negotiation process or when presenting evidence in front of a judge and jury.
No upfront payments are necessary because we accept all medical malpractice and defective medical device injury claims for compensation through contingency fee agreements. The legal fees are paid only after we have successfully resolved your compensation case by negotiating an out of court settlement on your behalf or by winning your case at trial. All information you share with our law offices remains confidential.
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