Forced Air Warming Lawsuit

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forced air warming lawsuitMounting forced air warming lawsuits assert that the 3M Bair Hugger can expose surgical sites to contaminated air from the operating room floor. This phenomenon allegedly increases the risk that hip and knee replacement patients will develop dangerous post-operative deep joint infections following their procedure.

Forced Air Warming Lawsuit Investigation

The nationwide law firm of Bernstein Liebhard LLP is now investigating potential forced air warming lawsuits on behalf of patients who may have developed MRSA, sepsis and other post-op deep joint infections following a hip or knee implant procedures that involved the use of the 3M Bair Hugger surgical warming blanket. Our attorneys are now offering, free, confidential, and no-obligation legal reviews to hip and knee replacement patients who may have been harmed by this device. To learn more about your legal options, please call (888) 994-5118 to get in touch with our legal team.

Bair Hugger Litigation Update

  • October 2016: The number of Bair  Hugger lawsuits pending in the multidistrict litigation exceeds 800 cases.  The proceeding’s next Status Conference is scheduled for November 17th. Read More
  • September  2016: There are now 693 forced air warming lawsuits pending in the federal Bair Hugger litigation. In a single month, 147 cases were added to the consolidated proceeding currently underway in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota. Read More
  • August 2016: Court documents indicate that Bair Hugger defendants are seeking to depose a number of witnesses based in the U.K. and Australia. These individuals  have authored research that has been cited by plaintiffs with cases pending in the federal multidistrict litigation. Read More
  • July 2016: There are now more than 450 Bair Hugger lawsuits pending in the federal multidistrict litigation. Court records dated July 15th indicate that more than 100 new cases have been filed in the proceeding over the past month. Read More
  • May 2016: The federal court overseeing the Bair Hugger multidistrict litigation has approved Master Long and Short Form Complaints. Plaintiffs who file cases directly in the U.S.District Court, District of Minnesota will now do so via the Short Form Complaint. Read More
  • April 2016: Direct filing of complaints is now permitted in the federal Bair Hugger litigation, following issuance of a Pretrial Order on April 29th. Two others issued the same day set forth procedures for handling confidential information disclosed in the course of discovery, as well the the service of process via e-mail for Plaintiffs’ Summons and Complaints. Read More
  • April 2016: The federal Bair Hugger litigation is one of the fastest-growing MDL’s in the country, with at least 217 cases pending in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, as of April 15th. That’s up from 160 filings just a month ago. Read More
  • April 2016: A Pretrial Order issued in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota indicates that the federal Bair Hugger litigation could convene its first bellwether trial on November 6, 2017.  Verdicts in bellwether trials could provide insight into how other juries might decide similar Bair Hugger lawsuits. There are currently more than 160 cases pending in the proceeding. Read More
  • February 2016: The federal litigation is to convene an Initial Pretrial Conference on February 18th. Issues to be addressed include the structure of plaintiffs’ leadership and the status of state court proceedings. Read More
  • January 2016: The first Pretrial Order is issued in the federal Bair Hugger litigation, indicating that the Court intends to convene regular status conferences beginning on a yet-to-be determined date in February. Discovery is stayed in all cases pending the Initial Status Conference and further Order from the Court.  Read More
  • December 2015: The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has agreed to centralize all federally-filed Bair Hugger infection cases in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota. The establishment of the multidistrict litigation will allow what could ultimately be a large number of lawsuits progress more efficiently. Read More
  • November 2015: A report published by the Minneapolis Star Tribune indicates that more than 50 hip and knee replacement infection lawsuits involving the Bair Hugger system have been filed against the 3M Company and its Arizant Healthcare, Inc. subsidiary.
  • October 2015: The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) indicates that it will hear oral arguments on the proposed Bair Hugger consolidation on December 3, 2015, when it convenes its next Hearing Session in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • September 2015: The 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare have filed a Joint Response with the JPML that opposes centralization of the federal Bair Hugger docket.
  • August 2015: A Bair Hugger plaintiff has filed a motion with the JPML that seeks consolidation of all forced air warming lawsuits involving the device in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota. The filing indicates that at least 14 such claims are pending in federal courts nationwide, and contends that hundreds of similar Bair Hugger lawsuits will eventually be filed. Read More
  • December 2015: Federal Bair Hugger lawsuits are centralized in a multidistrict litigation to be located in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota.
  • January 2016:  The Bair Hugger litigation issued its first Pretrial Order on January 13th, which, among other things, stays discovery in all cases pending the litigation’s first status conference and further order from the court. At least 82 hip and knee replacement lawsuits have been filed thus far in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota.

What is the Bair Hugger?

Research has shown that keeping patients warm during surgery leads to less bleeding, shorter hospital stays, and lower mortality rates. The Bair Hugger apparatus was brought to market by Arizant Healthcare, Inc. in 1987, which was acquired by the 3M Company in 2010. The system consists of a portable heating unit that forces warm air through a hose into a disposable blanket that is draped over the patient. The widely-used device is now standard in four out of five U.S. hospitalized, and has been used in more than 200 million surgeries since 1987.

Forced Air Warming Lawsuit

Plaintiffs who have filed forced air warming lawsuits claim that the Bair Hugger suffers from a design flaw thatresults in disruption of laminar flow in the operating room, allowing potentially dangerous contaminants from the floor to enter the surgical site. This purportedly places hip and knee implant patients at an increased risk for serious deep joint infections. Plaintiffs further claim that the 3M Company and Arizant have been aware of this risk for years, yet failed to make design changes or issue any warnings to the medical community.

According to these lawsuits, the consequences of an alleged Bair Hugger infection can be dire, and often require patients to undergo numerous invasive medical procedures in order to bring the infection under control. These interventions may include:

  • Repeat surgeries
  • Insertion of antibiotic spacers in the infected joint
  • IV antibiotic therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Removal and replacement of the artificial joint
  • Amputation of the affected limb

Hip and Knee Implant Infections

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, roughly 1 in 100 joint replacement patients will experience a post-op infection, either around the wound or deep around the artificial implant. Patients who develop this potentially debilitating complication may suffer from:

  • Increased pain or stiffness around the joint
  • Swelling, warmth and redness around the wound
  • Wound drainage
  • Fevers, chills and night sweats
  • Fatigue

Deep joint infections can develop shortly after an initial implant surgery, but they may also present long after the procedure. If the implant itself becomes contaminated, the patient may require repeat surgeries to revolve the problem, including revision surgery to replace theartificial joint.

Am I Eligible to File a Bair Hugger Lawsuit?

Bernstein Liebhard LLP is now evaluating Bair Hugger forced air warming lawsuits on behalf of individuals nationwide. If you or a loved one were diagnosed with a hip or knee infection following implant surgery, please contact our office today to determine whether or not you might have a valid claim. Free case reviews can be obtained by calling (888) 994-5118.

  1. JPML (2015) “Initial Transfer Order” http://www.jpml.uscourts.gov/sites/jpml/files/MDL-2666-Initial_Transfer-12-15.pdf
  2. Minneapolis Star Tribune (2015) “Lawsuits turn up heat on 3M’s Bair Hugger Warming Blankets” http://www.startribune.com/lawsuits-turn-up-heat-on-3m-s-bair-hugger-warming-blankets/348191741/
  3. AAOS (2012) “Joint Replacement Infections” http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00629

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Last Modified: November 8, 2016

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