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Bair Hugger

Attorney Jeffrey Bowersox has been appointed by Judge Ericksen to serve as a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee to prepare the case against 3M and Arizant Healthcare for trial. Jeff is serving on multiple committees on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. In litigation filed by patients from around the country, it is alleged that these blankets pose an increased risk of deep joint and other hospital-acquired infections such as sepsis and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which are both life-threatening. The Bair Hugger warming system can pick up bacteria-contaminated air and blow harmful pathogens directly onto a sterile surgical site, according to the New York Times (Dec. 2010).

Bair Hugger warming blankets were first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1987. The FDA’s 510(k) pre-market clearance program allows products to enter the market without specific clinical proof of safety, if the product is substantially similar to other products that are already available. More than 80% of operating rooms in the U.S. utilize the Bair Hugger warming blanket during surgeries.

Manufacturers Arizant Healthcare and The 3M Company now face nearly 700 Bair Hugger lawsuits alleging the companies failed to warn patients and doctors of the risks associated with the device. Although both 3M and Arizant maintain the device is safe, the inventor of the Bair Hugger believes the device can cause patients to develop serious infections and has asked hospitals to discontinue use of the device.

The Bair Hugger therapy temperature management system uses forced, warm air to prevent and treat hypothermia in surgical patients. Each Bair Hugger blanket features a soft, non-woven material that is comfortable against the patient's skin and each is designed to distribute warm air effectively and efficiently across the patient's body. Bair Hugger therapy consists of warming units and disposable blankets that distribute warm air across the patient before, during and/or after surgery. There are 19 blanket models (including seven pediatric and three sterile blanket designs).

The Bair warming blanket is typically used during hip and knee replacement surgeries to produce benefits such as less bleeding and a faster recovery. However, these warming blankets, including the 3M Bair Hugger Warming System, may actually be causing infections. In litigation filed by patients from around the country, it is alleged that these blankets pose an increased risk of deep joint and other hospital-acquired infections such as sepsis and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which are both life-threatening. The Bair Hugger warming system can pick up bacteria-contaminated air and blow harmful pathogens directly onto a sterile surgical site, according to the New York Times (Dec. 2010).

For patients who have suffered infections allegedly caused by the Bair Hugger, the vast majority requires extensive, multi-staged removal of the prosthesis, antibiotic therapy, and extended hospital stays.

Bair Hugger lawsuits alleging the medical blanket is linked to an increased risk of infections have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings in the US District Court of Minnesota, which are being overseen by Judge Joan N. Ericksen and Magistrate Judge Franklin L. Noel. As of September 29, 2016, nearly 780 lawsuits were consolidated for pretrial proceedings in the multidistrict litigation 266 (“MDL 266”) (In Re: Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming Devices Products Liability Litigation). MDL 266 is moving forward, with a September 9, 2016, order from the court that bellwether cases be selected on or before March 1, 2017, and the first bellwether trial beginning on November 6, 2017.

If you or a loved one have suffered losses in this case, please contact Bowersox Law Firm, P.C. at (503) 452-5858 or toll-free at (800) 255-1996 so that we may evaluate your Bair Hugger claim at no cost or obligation. Attorney Jeffrey Bowersox has been appointed by Judge Ericksen to serve as a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee to prepare the case against 3M and Arizant Healthcare for trial. Jeff is serving on multiple committees on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee.


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