Bair Hugger Target of Infection-Related Lawsuit

We Are No Longer Accepting Bair Hugger Cases. This page is for informational purposes & may be out-of-date.

A 70 year-old Houston man claims that a commonly used surgical device caused a serious infection.

The device in question, manufactured by 3M, is the Bair Hugger patient warming system. The device maintains a steady flow of warm air for patients undergoing surgery. This is a crucial function since patients under anesthesia lose the ability to regulate their body temperature. Consistent temperature also reduces the risk of surgical infections and complications.

In this case, the patient and his attorney* contend that the device expelled air underneath the operating table. This exhaust was then recirculated back into his hip replacement device after being contaminated.

According to Pioneer Press, the results were a nightmare. The patient required fifteen additional surgeries to repair infection damage and ended up without the hip replacement. The injury is permanently disabling.

The Bair Hugger is manufactured by Arizant Healthcare, a company acquired by 3M in 2010 for $810 million. Both 3M and Arizant are named in the suit.

This is not the first time the Bair Hugger’s safety has been called into question. In fact, one of its greatest critics is its own inventor, Dr. Scott Augustine. Since leaving Arizant in 2002, he has referred to five peer-reviewed studies that link it to a so-called “contamination phenomenon.”

Alternatives to the Bair Hugger do exist, but it is popular because it keeps the rest of the operating room at a reasonable temperature. Augustine himself is proposing a new air-free version called the Hot Dog that works like an electric blanket.

A 3M spokesman reported that the company is “very confident” in the device’s safety, but insists they will investigate “the circumstances of this incident.”