A warming blanket manufactured by 3M is at the center of a products liability lawsuit in which the injured party alleges that the warming blanket caused bacteria and contaminants from the floor of the operating room to enter her surgical wound, resulting in a catastrophic post-surgical infection. The blanket, which is called a Bair Hugger, is used to stabilize the body temperature of patients in an operating room setting by using forced hot air.
The injured party in this lawsuit, a woman from Mississippi, was undergoing knee replacement surgery when the Bair Hugger warming blanket was used to keep her body temperature stable. After the surgery was completed, the wound became infected and the knee implant that had been inserted had to be removed. An antibiotic spacer had to be put in place of the knee replacement because the woman’s knee joint was so badly infected. Months later, another knee replacement was put in, and the woman has had multiple surgeries since the placement of the second knee replacement device.
Post-surgical infections are not uncommon, but in some situations they can be linked to a condition which created an increased risk that infection would occur. For example, there are a growing number of cases in which catastrophic infections developed after Bair Hugger warming blankets were used during knee and hip replacement surgeries. Some of the injured parties have even filed lawsuits that are similar to the one that has been filed by the woman from Mississippi.
The Bair Hugger warming blanket was designed to meet a need within the hospital setting, but its use poses a great risk to patients. It is true that the body temperature of a patient who is undergoing a hip or knee replacement surgery will drop during the time that they are in the operating room because they are anesthetized and because they are not moving. It is necessary to stabilize their body temperature, but it is not necessary to create an increased risk of infection by using a product that affects the air flow within the operating room, thereby allowing bacteria from the floor to enter the open surgical wound. The Bair Hugger forced hot air warming blanket is just one type of device that can be used to warm patients as they undergo hip or knee replacements. Other alternatives to the Bair Hugger exist, such as warming blankets that resemble electric blankets and which do not use forced hot air. 3M is aware of the risk that their forced hot air warming blankets create, but the company has not warned hospitals of that risk.
Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Representing Mississippi Plaintiffs in Products Liability Lawsuits
The Bair Hugger forced hot air warming blanket is just one example of a medical product that can cause harm to the very patients that it is intended to help. If you have been injured or if someone that you love has died as the result of an unreasonably dangerous medical product, the Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys at the Giddens Law Firm, P.A. are here to help you. Please call our office today at (601) 355-2022 to learn more.