On Friday, December 11, 2015, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated approximately 70 lawsuits against Bair Hugger into multidistrict litigation (MDL) proceedings before U.S. District Judge Joan N. Ericksen in Minnesota. The lawsuits filed against Bair Hugger claim the forced air warming system spreads infection, and that the manufacturers 3M Company (3M) and Arizant Healthcare, Inc. (Arizant) were aware of this issue. Kershaw, Cook & Talley has filed several lawsuits against Bair Hugger on behalf of clients who developed serious infections.
The Bair Hugger is a forced-air heater, delivering warm air through a hose into a blanket covering a patient. The device potentially disrupts ventilation in the operating room, consequently spreading airborne contaminants in surgical patients- particularly patients undergoing hip and knee surgeries- resulting in hospital-acquired infections including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Bacteria enters surgical openings causing serious infections, specifically deep joint infections. Patients with infections may undergo long-term IV antibiotic therapy, multiple surgeries, and amputations.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the first Bair Hugger warming system in 1987 through the 510k pre-market approval (PMA) process. The Bone & Joint Journal released a study in 2011 showing a “significant increase in deep joint replacement infection” when using temperature management systems, like the Bair Hugger. The research also reported a 74% decrease in infections after discontinuing Bair Hugger use in surgical procedures. However, the FDA has not recalled the Bair Hugger.
If you suffered serious infections from the Bair Hugger, contact Kershaw, Cook & Talley for a free case evaluation at 888-997-5170.