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Reports of serious infections following hip replacement and knee replacement procedures may be linked to the use of Bair Hugger warming blanket. The forced-air warmers (FAWs) may cause contaminants from the operating room floor to enter the surgical site.
HIP AND KNEE SURGERY INFECTION LAWSUIT STATUS: Product liability lawyers are reviewing potential hip surgery infection lawsuits and knee surgery infection lawsuits for individuals who may have had a Bair Hugger used during their procedure to keep the body warm.
Complaints allege that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn about the Bair Hugger infection risk during knee and hip surgery.
BAIR HUGGER MANUFACTURER: 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare
OVERVIEW: The 3M Bair Hugger is a forced air warming device used during hip and knee surgery at most hospitals throughout the U.S. There are more than 50,000 of the Bair Hugger warming blankets in use, and estimates suggest that they are used during more than 80% of all hip replacements and knee replacements.
The Bair Hugger warmer contains a portable heater/blower unit, with a flexible hose that is hooked up to a disposable blanket that is positioned over surgical patients. The forced air warming blanket is designed to deliver warm air onto a patient during an operation to keep the wound area and patient appropriately heated, which reduces the risk of bleeding and shortens recovery times.
Reports and studies have raised questions about the safety of Bair Huggers and other forced air warming devices, which may cause bacteria and particles from the operating room floor to be forced up and into the sterile area around the open wound. These contaminants may cause catestrophic hip surgery infections and knee surgery infections, often resulting in the need for additional surgery and leaving patients with permanent injury.
BAIR HUGGER INFECTION PROBLEMS: Safety questions have been raised in recent years about the Bair Hugger and a number of product liability lawsuits are currently being pursued by individuals who experienced an infection after hip or knee replacement surgery.
As a result of deep joint infections caused by Bair Hugger warming blankets, plaintiffs claim that they have suffered a variety of serious injuries, including:
- Multiple Hip or Knee Revision Surgeries
- Antibiotic Spacers Implanted
Lawsuits allege that the Bair Hugger warming blanket are unreasonably dangerous and can deposit infectious agents into patient’s wounds due to poor filtration systems and defective design, resulting in infections after hip replacement or knee replacement surgery.
Potential red flags about the safety of forced air warmers have been raised since at least 2010, when researchers from the U.S. and U.K. warned that the design led to filters that were “found to be inadequate for preventing the internal buildup and emission of microbial contaminants into the operating room.” The researchers determined that “substandard intake filtration” could allow contaminants to get into the blower and then be deposited onto the patient’s surgical site.
Other studies found evidence of increased rates of deep hip and knee joint infections when the warming blankets were used, and warned that the devices may disrupt operating room air flow, allowing particles from non-sterile parts of the room to reach the surgical area.
In January 2018, about 165,000 Bair Hugger units were recalled for defects which may lead to patients not being warmed properly.
HIP AND KNEE SURGERY INFECTIONS: Knee and hip surgery infections from a Bair Hugger or other forced-air warming device can be serious and potentially life-threatening.
Bacteria entering the surgical area may result in:
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
- Sepsis or Septic Hip/Knee
- Deep Joint Infection
MRSA infections, which are resistant to treatment by penicillin-based antibiotics, have accounted for more than 60 percent of hospital staph infections in recent years. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that about 126,000 hospital MRSA infections occur each year, resulting in about 5,000 deaths. However, some researchers suggest that the number of deaths from MRSA in the U.S. is closer to 20,000 annually.
Common treatments for knee or hip replacement infections require multi-stage revision surgery, often involving the placement of an antibiotic spacer for some time, which severely limits mobility.
FIND OUT IF YOU MAY QUALIFY FOR A HIP OR KNEE SURGERY INFECTION SETTLEMENT: Free consultations and claim evaluations are provided by hip and knee infection lawyers for individuals throughout the United States who have been diagnosed with infections following use of a Bair Hugger forced air warming blanket.