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What Are the Risks Associated with Bair Hugger Warming Blankets?

Every year, thousands upon thousands of Americans undergo all kinds of surgeries and similar procedures. The goals and processes for these procedures may vary widely, but one piece of equipment that is nearly universal is a Bair Hugger forced-air warming (FAW) system. Essentially, these warming blankets are needed to help regulate a patient’s body temperature during surgery, especially for orthopedic procedures such as joint replacements.

Even though these systems have been used for decades now, there is a large amount of evidence that suggests that they may substantially increase a patient’s risk of developing infections and other complications. Injury claims have been flooding in from all over the country, and most allege that the device’s manufacturers knew about these risks but did not properly warn patients and healthcare workers.

Invasive procedures are stressful enough on their own without the added risk of subsequent infection–if you need help recovering compensation for injuries caused by a Bair Hugger device, simply contact the Van Law Firm location nearest you. With a no-cost, no-obligation consultation, we can review your claim and form a plan of action that works best for you. Call now to see how we can help.

Bair Hugger Systems: History, Potential Risks

Bair Hugger FAW systems have been in use since the late 1980s. They were originally approved by the FDA in 1987 under a special authorization which allows medical devices to be cleared without clinical proof if they are similar enough to other devices that have already been approved. Essentially, they work by circulating warm air throughout disposable blankets that cover patients before, during, and after surgeries, in order to regulate their body temperature and keep them stable. In 2010, 3M bought the rights to the device and they have manufactured them since–current estimates say that these devices are used in at least 80 percent of hospitals around the country.

The claims that have been filed so far are primarily alleging that the heat generated by the forced-air system can negatively affect air circulation during an operation, which can cause bacteria and other potentially harmful substances on the floor of the operating room to stir up and become airborne. When this happens, patients have a much higher risk of contracting MRSA or other serious infections.

This defect is especially dangerous for those undergoing joint replacement surgeries, as the exposed bones and tissue can lead to infection deep inside the joints. This usually requires additional procedures to correct, and some patients have had to have their artificial joints removed and replaced.

What Compensation Can I Recover for a Bair Hugger Claim?

Every case is unique, but if you suffered damages due to a Bair Hugger device, you may be eligible to recover numerous forms of compensation, including but not limited to:

  • Medical expenses, including prescription costs
  • Rehabilitation expenses, past and future
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Non-economic losses such as pain and suffering
  • In the event of a wrongful death, funeral expenses and loss of consortium

It’s impossible to know which forms of compensation you can and cannot recover without consulting with a trusted product liability attorney. In addition, claimants must make sure to come forward before the applicable statute of limitations has expired. Most statutes extend 2 or 3 years from the date of loss, but it’s best to get the process started as soon as possible.

Recalled Lots of Bair Hugger Devices

In January of 2018, 3M announced that they were recalling over 150,000 devices because of a design-related defect which prevented some blankets from circulating properly. The company has asserted that this defect is separate from previous allegations, and they have continued to deny previous claims.

Here are the lots of cases that have since been recalled:

  • R10359
  • R10360
  • R10361
  • R10362
  • R10363
  • R10364
  • R10365
  • R10366

Need Help With a Bair Hugger Claim? Contact Van Law Firm

If you or someone you love has suffered additional complications due to a Bair Hugger warming device, you will likely only have one chance to recover the compensation you and your family deserves. Give yourself the best chance of success by contacting the Van Law Firm office nearest you today. Our award-winning team of product liability and medical malpractice attorneys can review your claim and hold negligent parties accountable for your damages. Call today for more information.