Deep Joint Infection Caused by Bair Hugger Forced-Air Warming Blanket

Keeping patients at a stable temperature during surgery can not only shorten recovery times, but reduce bleeding. This is why Dr. Scott Augustine developed the Bair Hugger forced-air warming blanket in 1988. This blanket surrounds the patient with warm air through an attached heater, a flexible hose, and small perforations in the blanket. More than 90% of all forced-air warming blankets in the U.S. are Bair Hugger devices.

Developer of the Bair Hugger Cautions Against Its Use

Several years ago, the very doctor who developed the Bair Hugger forced-air warming blanket warned surgeons about the risks of using this device. In fact, he told them to stop using it altogether. According to Dr. Augustine, his research indicates that the forced-air warming blanket can spread bacteria throughout the operating room, leaving the patient susceptible to an array of infections.

A study published in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery also warned that air circulated by the Bair Hugger device contained 2,000 times more contaminants than warmers that don’t use forced air. When two orthopedic surgeons researched the issue further, they discovered that there was a 74% decrease in deep joint infections when the Bair Hugger warming device was not used during surgery.

Deep Joint Infection and Amputation: Possible Risks

One of the most significant issues associated with the Bair Hugger device is deep joint infection. When a patient develops a deep joint infection, it is likely that they will face an extremely long and difficult recovery. Many will undergo multiple hospitalizations, additional surgeries, weeks of IV antibiotic therapy, removal or revision of the original implant, and even extended physical therapy.

In extreme cases, the patient may even face the loss of their limb. Infection in the artificial joint can also result in chronic pain, inflammation, redness around the wound, fever, chills, fatigue and night sweats. Even if the infection does not lead to amputation, the patient will still need to have the artificial joint re-implanted. In many cases, the overall cost of a deep bone infection can total $100,000 or more.

Bair Hugger Lawsuits

Currently, lawsuits are pending against 3M for injuries caused by the Bair Hugger forced-air warming device. Two plaintiffs developed MRSA after undergoing joint surgery, and two plaintiffs lost limbs as a result of deep bone infections. One patient, Rosie Bartel, explains that she was infected with MRSA as a result of the Bair Hugger, causing her to undergo 27 surgeries. She also lost her leg to the hip.

Contact Our National Defective Medical Device Attorneys

If you or someone you love has developed a deep joint infection after the Bair Hugger forced-air warming blanket was used during surgery, you should speak to the Philadelphia defective medical device lawyers at Golomb Legalright away. We hold negligent pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing companies accountable for their actions. Call now at (215) 278-4449!