Wrongful Death Lawsuit Claims 3M Bair Hugger Warmer Led To Knee Amputation, Fatal Infection

The daughter of a woman who died after developing a severe infection following knee surgery has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against 3M Company, alleging that problems with the 3M Bair Hugger warmer used during the procedure caused contaminants to enter the open surgical wound. 

The complaint (PDF) was filed last week by Amanda Kenvin in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, on behalf of herself and the estate of her deceased mother, Wilma R. Grady, claiming that the manufacturer knew or should have known about the infection risk posed by the 3M Bair Hugger, yet failed to warn consumers or surgeons.

Grady underwent a left total knee arthroplasty in February 2015, during which a 3M Bair Hugger forced-air warming system was used in the operating room to help maintain body temperature during the procedure. However, the lawsuit alleges that an unreasonably dangerous and defective design for the warming blanket caused Grady to develop a deep join infection, also known as a periprosthetic joint infection, which resulted in the need for a knee amputation, and ultimately caused Grady’s death.

Learn More About

Bair Hugger Lawsuits

Bair Hugger warming blankets may be the cause of knee or hip surgery infections.

Learn More About this Lawsuit See If You Qualify Now >

The cause joins a growing number of knee infection lawsuits and hip infection lawsuits filed against 3M Company in recent months over the Bair Hugger warmer, each raising similar claims that the device causes contaminants and bacteria from the operating room floor to enter the open surgical wound, potentially causing severe and debilitating joint infections.

The 3M Bair Hugger has been found in most operating rooms throughout the U.S. in recent years, using forced-air blown into an inflatable blanket placed over a patient during surgery to control body temperature and reduce the risk of complications. However, complaints allege that the design of the system disrupts the laminar air flow of the operating room, citing studies that have found substantial increases in the temperature and number of particles over the surgical site when forced-air warming is used. In addition, many of the cases allege that the Bair Hugger filter system is insufficient and unreasonably dangerous.

Lawsuits over the surgical warmer claim that 3M Company has known about the hip and knee surgical infection risk for years, yet failed to make design changes or provide warnings to the medical community. In addition, plaintiffs allege that there are safer alternative warming blanket designs that do not carry the same risks.

Given the similar questions of fact and law presented in the cases, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistict Litigation (JPML) established coordinated pretrial proceedings for the federal litigation, centralizing cases brought nationwide before U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen in the District of Minnesota to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues that will arise in the cases, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

As hip and knee infection lawyers continue to review and file additional cases in the coming months and years, it is ultimately expected that several thousand claims involving severe and debilitating deep tissue infections may be brought on behalf of individuals throughout the United States.

It is expected that Judge Ericksen will establish a bellwether program, where a small group of cases will be prepared for early trial dates, to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the Bair Hugger litigation.

Kenvin presents claims of negligence, failure to warn, defective design and manufacture, breach of warranty, violation of Minnesota consumer protection laws, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, loss of consortium, unjust enrichment and wrongful death.


"*" indicates required fields

Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

Provide additional contact information if you want an attorney to review your comments and contact you about a potential case. This information will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.