Bair Hugger Warming Blankets

The Nature of the Device: Manufactured by 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare Inc., the Bair Hugger forced-air warming system heats air and blows it under a surgical patient’s sterile blanket, so as to concentrate warm air around the patient’s body. Thousands of American hospitals use the Bair Hugger system in millions of surgeries a year.

The device’s purpose is to prevent a surgical patient from becoming hypothermic. It is needed because operating theaters’ chilly air causes many cases of hypothermia, which can lead to infection, pressure sores, or a need for additional blood transfusions.

The Hazards of the Bair Hugger: The Bair Hugger warming system can increase risk of infection in orthopedic surgery or in hip and knee implants. That is because the machine can force contaminants trapped in the warming device or under the patient’s blanket, toward surgical sites; microbes then penetrate deep into the hip, the knee, or other tissue, causing infection. Heart-surgery patients can also risk infection in that way.
Since the Bair Hugger warming system was introduced, many users have developed infections in soft tissue or joints. Some have needed additional surgery, and some have even had limbs amputated.

Risk of infection with the Bair Hugger is so great that its inventor, Dr. Scott D. Augustine, eventually warned against using any type of forced warm-air device in connection with surgery. Because of that risk, many people who were treated with the Bair Hugger system have sued 3M and Arizant.

To Obtain Legal Relief: People who have suffered infection, amputation, or some other health problem after surgery in which a Bair Hugger warming system was used, may have important legal rights. Attorney Stephen A. Katz is available at (800) 251-3529 for a free consultation, or for legal representation.