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Though the replacement of a major joint such as the hip or the knee is a serious surgical undertaking, the frequency with which these procedures are performed typically engenders a great deal of confidence in patients. However, there has been a recent uptick in concerns regarding a warming blanket device commonly used in operations of this type, and the deep joint infections it is alleged to produce.

If you have suffered a surgical complication in this realm, a Winston-Salem Bair Hugger lawyer may be able to clarify your legal position and help you seek financial compensation. Contact a dedicated device liability attorney to begin your claim today.

The 3M Bair Hugger Warming Blanket

The Bair Hugger warming blanket was introduced by 3M in 1987, and has been used in roughly 200 million joint replacement procedures since that time. Designed as a single-use piece of equipment that employs inflatable tubes as conduits for hot air, these blankets serve to thwart heat loss and hypothermia in patients prior to surgery.

However, the construction and operation of these devices have both come under significant scrutiny of late, and the blanket manufacturer has been the target of a rising tide of product liability litigation nationwide.

Potential Risks of Bair Hugger Blankets

Those filing suit against 3M in Bair Hugger cases have asserted that the forced-air heating process characteristic to these blankets can potentially send dangerous contaminants into the air within the surgical theater. These germs, in turn, find their way into open wounds at the joint replacement site.

As a result, affected patients suffer deep joint infections that cause severe pain, restrict mobility, and necessitate costly additional surgery.

Plaintiffs argue that the specific design of the blankets’ warming system causes a disruption to the sterility of the surgical environment and creates an unreasonably dangerous scenario for patients on the table.

Bair Hugger-Related Infections in Joint Replacement Patients

Surgery patients who contract a deep joint infection following a hip or knee replacement procedure in which a Bair Hugger blanket was used require rapid diagnosis of their condition and immediate treatment, in order to prevent further damage and devastating outcomes.

Key indicators of these types of infections include swelling and drainage at the surgical site, joint pain, increased stiffness, undue fatigue, chills, and fever. Some patients may need little more than antibiotic treatment, but others may be forced to undergo multi-step surgical revision, joint fusion procedures, or in extreme cases even amputation.

Bair Hugger Litigation

Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in federal court has been established as a means of consolidating the rising tally of Bair Hugger cases. The operative purpose of this litigation is to facilitate judicial economy and consistency in pretrial rulings on cases with similar fact patterns, and possibly set the stage for a large-scale settlement.

Many Bair Hugger MDL plaintiffs have alleged that 3M negligently designed, manufactured, and sold a dangerous medical device. Additionally, they failed to conduct appropriate testing of the blanket’s safety and effectiveness, and did not warn the public of the known risk of infection posed by the product’s heating process.

How a Winston-Salem Bair Hugger Attorney Can Help

Patients and physicians have little option but to place substantial faith in the medical equipment designed and marketed by corporate enterprises like 3M. However, when surgical tools and other devices fail to live up to the safety and effectiveness required of them, debilitating harm can result, and legal determinations of liability must subsequently be made.

If you suffered a joint infection in the aftermath of a joint replacement procedure, contact a