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A plaintiff that filed a 3M Bair Hugger lawsuit has requested that all cases alleging injuries caused by Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming blankets be transferred to a Minnesota federal court for consolidated pretrial proceedings.

The motion to centrailze states that centralization of approximately 14 lawsuits filed against 3M Co. and its subsidiary, Arizant Healthcare Inc., will improve the convenience of the litigation, significantly reduce discovery costs for the defendants, and allow plaintiffs’ attorneys to coordinate their efforts and more efficiently distribute the pretrial workload.

Bair Hugger Lawsuit Allegations

The Bair Hugger lawsuit complaints against 3M and Arizant Healthcare share similar allegations regarding forced-air warming and the Bair Hugger system, including:

  • 3M told the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the Bair Hugger blanket met the High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) standard, when in fact it did not.
  • The Bair Hugger manufacturers also misrepresented the unit’s effectiveness regarding filtering out and trapping bacterial contaminants.
  • Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming blankets caused air blown across the surgical wound during surgical procedures, resulting in airborne contamination from bacterial and contaminants present on the operating room floor.
  • The Bair Hugger blanket caused hip and knee replacement patients to face an increased risk of serious infection during surgical procedures.

Bair Hugger Use Widespread

According to experts, there are an estimated 50,000 Bair Hugger units at use in hospitals across the U.S. During long surgical procedures, a patient’s body temperature tends to drop, which increases the risk of hypothermia, infection, and generally prolongs healing time. To minimize these risks, the Bair Hugger warming blanket is used to keep the patient’s temperature stable during surgery.

Unfortunately, in addition to keeping the patient warm, studies have shown that the Bair Hugger device can increase the amount of particulate matter over an open wound during surgery as much as 1,000 fold. Additional research shows an alarmingly high rate of devices already in use at hospitals have acquired bacteria like Staph and MRSA, then disperse it while the device is in use.

The plaintiffs in many of the Bair Hugger lawsuits allege that they developed serious infections after hip and knee replacement surgeries utilizing the Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming blanket. In the event of infection, many of these patients require a heavy course of antibiotics which can cause damage to organs. Additional surgeries are then needed within a short span of time to remove the artificial knee or hip and replace it with a temporary spacer. The final surgery required will remove the spacer and place another knee or hip implant.

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