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Updates to Bair Hugger Infection Litigation

There have been over 5,600 lawsuits filed against 3M in regards to their Bair Hugger warming blankets, which are medical devices that regulate a patient’s temperature during surgical procedures, due to accusations that the temperature management systems may cause infection. Here, the product liability attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos provide an overview of Bair Hugger litigation as well as recent updates in the bellwether trials brought against 3M.

 What are Bair Hugger Systems?

Bair Hugger systems are surgical temperature management systems that stabilize a patient’s core temperature during surgery. They are implemented in four out of five hospitals in the United States and have been used on over 200 million patients. The warming devices pump and circulate air into the inflatable warming blankets to stabilize a patient’s temperature before, during and after surgical procedures.

 When Was Bair Hugger Litigation First Initiated?

The first lawsuit filed against 3M regarding the Bair Hugger system was in 2013, when patient Tommy Walton filed a lawsuit for $1 million. Walton, who underwent a hip replacement surgery in 2011, developed a deep joint infection as a result of the surgery. His infection required 15 additional surgeries to remove the infection and repair damages. Though Walton did not win his case, more than a dozen other patients filed Bair Hugger lawsuits between 2013 to 2015, claiming that the warming blankets contributed to the airflow in the operating room, leading to airborne bacteria being exposed to patient’s incisions. Allegations claim Bair Hugger infections can cause additional hospitalization and surgery, amputation and even death.

In January 2018, 3M initiated a recall of 165,000 Bair Hugger blankets due to a design defect that caused blankets to only partially inflate. An adverse event report to the FDA alleged that a patient suffered from hypothermia after undergoing surgery that utilized a defective Bair Hugger warming blanket. The patient required treatment at the ICU in order to recover from the hypothermia.

What Are the Most Recent Updates in Bair Hugger Litigation?

As a result of increasing litigation against 3M, a federal panel consolidated the first 14 lawsuits against the Bair Hugger systems into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in 2015, and the MDL judge chose five cases for bellwether trials, or test trials, in 2017. In May of 2018, the defendant, 3M, won the first bellwether case in Minneapolis.

As of April 2019, a total of 5,659 lawsuits have been filed against 3M concerning the Bair Hugger systems, with plaintiffs claiming the warming system’s ability to blow and circulate air as a method of temperature regulation has the potential to transfer bacteria into the air, potentially causing infection.

Contact The Law Offices of Peter Angelos to Speak to a Dedicated Product Liability Attorney

Defective products, especially for use in the medical industry, have the potential to harm thousands of individuals and require additional surgeries to repair damage. The product liability attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos are passionate about ensuring patients harmed by defective medical products receive the compensation they need for their pain and suffering as well as the exorbitant costs of additional surgeries and medical treatment. If you or a loved one developed an infection after undergoing surgery that utilized a Bair Hugger warming system, or experienced hypothermia as a result of a defective, partially-inflated Bair Hugger warming blanket named in the product recall, contact our Baltimore office.