A Minnesota plaintiff has filed a lawsuit against Arizant Healthcare, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of 3M Corporation, claiming that the company’s Bair Hugger warming blanket introduced a serious MRSA infection during revision surgery for a hip implant.
What is MRSA?
MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, contagious and antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria that can cause life-threatening bloodstream infections, pneumonia, and surgical site infections.
The infection is alleged to have entered the plaintiff’s body through a sterile surgical site through the forced-air design of the Bair Hugger. Due to the infection, the plaintiff required six surgical procedures over 11 months in order to treat what proved to be a difficult and persistent deep joint infection. At one point, the patient’s artificial hip had to be completely removed in order for the infected area to be thoroughly cleaned.
The Minnesota lawsuit alleges that the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket is defective and Arizant ignored concerns about the potential for infection. The plaintiff suffered pain, suffering, and inconvenience required to finally get rid of the infection, and continues to suffer substantial, permanent physical impairment, including a lack of ability to move freely, according to court documents.
Bair Hugger Warming Blankets
Forced-air warming blankets, such as the Bair Hugger, are used to maintain a normal body temperature during orthopedic surgeries involving the knee, hip, shoulder, and spine. Advocates of forced-air warming say it is the most used method of surgical warming in the U.S., and keeping patients warm throughout the perioperative process is integral to providing optimum clinical care and patient comfort. But evidence now suggests that these devices are being associated with deep joint infections that are occurring one year after surgery.