Beasley Allen lawyers Megan Robinson and Matt Munson continue to investigate and file lawsuits involving 3M’s Bair Hugger warming device. A multidistrict litigation (MDL) is currently underway in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota with Judge Joan N. Ericksen presiding over the litigation.

I doubt that all of our readers are familiar with the 3M Bair Hugger. It is a forced hot air warming blanket, used primarily to help maintain a patient’s body temperature during surgery. The 3M Bair Hugger pushes warm air through a flexible hose into a blanket draped over a patient. However, warming blankets can recirculate contaminated air over a patient’s body, including over an open surgical site. This may result in infections like MRSA or sepsis. In particular, patients undergoing knee or hip replacement surgery are at risk of infections deep in the joint, which are very difficult to treat. Complications from these infections include hospitalization, implant revision surgery, limited mobility, permanent disability, amputation, and death.

Bair Hugger inventor Dr. Scott Augustine expressed concern that his invention could have an increased risk of spreading infection and spoke out against its continued use in 2010. Dr. Augustine told The New York Times in a December 2010 interview: “I am very proud of the old technology…But I am also proud to spread the word that there is a problem.” Dr. Augustine presented studies proving his device can increase infections, which were dismissed by 3M as flawed and inconclusive. Nevertheless, the Bair Hugger has not been recalled. It is still in widespread use in hospitals and surgery centers around the country.

Generally, to move forward with a case, there must be proof that the Bair Hugger was used on the patient intraoperatively, usually during an open orthopaedic procedure such as a total hip or total knee arthroplasty, and the patient did not have any preexisting joint problems or prior infections or contraindications for Bair Hugger. Patients affected by Bair Hugger usually manifest symptoms within one to two years following use, and injuries can include but are not limited to periprosthetic joint infections requiring additional surgeries to remove infected devices and tissue, and, potentially, amputation.

If you need more information or believe you may have a potential Bair Hugger claim, please contact Megan Robinson or Matt Munson at 800-898-2034 or by email at or

Source: The New York Times

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