The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons estimates that 1 in 100 joint replacement patients will experience a post-operative infection. However, numerous hip and knee replacement infection lawsuits claim that this complication is far more likely if the 3M Bair Hugger is used to keep a patient warm during joint implant surgery.
The 3M Bair Hugger is a portable heater/blower that is connected by a flexible hose to a disposable, one-time use blanket. During surgery, the blanket deposits warm air on a patient’s exposed skin so that their body temperature remains at an optimal level. However, knee and hip replacement infection lawsuits claim that this apparatus can discharge air under the surgical table, where it picks up germs from the operating room floor. Now contaminated, the air is recirculated to the surgical site, placing joint implant patients at risk for MRSA, sepsis and other infections.
A number of studies published in recent years have suggested that use of forced air warming blankets like the Bair Hugger may expose surgical patients to more contaminants than other warming methods. For example, an article that appeared the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery in 2011 reported that deep joint infections had decreased by 74% when surgeons at a U.K. hospital stopped using forced air warming blankets during implant surgery. Another study published in the same journal the following year found that the air circulating over forced air warmer patients contained 2,000 times more contaminants compared to those warmed with an alternative system.
According to a growing number of hip and knee replacement infection lawsuits, the 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare, Inc. have been aw are of the Bair Hugger’s alleged problems for several years. Yet they have continued to aggressively market the device and misrepresent it as being safe for use in both general and orthopedic surgeries.
Patients who undergo joint replacement surgery already face a long road to recovery. But those who develop a post-operative infection may have to endure additional hospitalizations, additional surgery, IV antibiotics, removal and replacement of their implant, and even amputation. Joint replacement infections are especially difficult to resolve, as the body’s immune system is no match for bacteria that infests the metal, plastic and ceramic that make up hip and knee implants. If it is proven that the Bair Hugger was responsible for a deep joint infection, patients and their families may be entitled to compensation for the cost of revision surgery and other medical treatments, as well as lost wages, pain and suffering, disability and more.
Introduced nearly two decades ago, the 3M Bair Hugger is now used by some 50,000 U.S. hospitals. If you suffered a serious post-operative infection following joint implant surgery, this device could be to blame. To learn more about filing your own hip or knee replacement infection lawsuit, please call (888) 994-5118 to discuss your case an attorney at Bernstein Liebhard LLP.
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