In several states around the nation, people have been filing lawsuits against the designers and manufacturers of the Bair Hugger warming blankets, 3M and its subsidiary company, Arizant Healthcare. Plaintiffs are alleging that the companies had long been aware of the harm the product could cause to consumers; namely, that the device increased the risk of infection.
What Is the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket?
Many patients who have undergone knee or hip implant surgeries have used the Bair Hugger device to maintain their temperature, by using air compression to circulate warm air below and beneath the patient during surgery. Recent studies have shown that these high-risk types of operations have a higher chance of coming into contact with bacteria and pathogens when the air underneath the operating table disperses to the surgical areas.
These are some of the factors that may increase the risk of infection:
- Immune deficiency (e.g., HIV/AIDS, cancers such as leukemia)
- Treatments that suppress the immune system
- Peripheral vascular disease
At this time, there may be at least 20 lawsuits filed against 3M and Arizant Healthcare, with plaintiffs citing the above claims and the resulting injuries sustained by using the Bair Hugger warming blankets. Many of the plaintiffs share similar symptoms after using the product, most notably bacterial infections, such as sepsis, and have also alleged similar claims regarding the design and effectiveness issues. At one point, there were over 50, 000 warming blankets used in hospitals across the nation.
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