We Are No Longer Accepting Bair Hugger Cases. This page is for informational purposes & may be out-of-date.
What is a Forced-Air Warming Blanket?
Patients under anesthesia during surgery pose a number of risks. For one, anesthesia can remove the body’s ability to self-regulate its temperature. As a result, specialized tools have been developed to keep patients warm during this critical time. A popular solution is a forced-air system that circulates hot air around the patient. One of the most prominent systems is the Bair Hugger from manufacturer 3M.
What Is The Problem?
- Have you had a hip or knee replacement surgery?
- Was a forced-air warming blanket used during your surgery?
- Did you develop a severe infection after the surgery?
The Bair Hugger system uses air pumped in from a warming unit that is located on the surgery room floor. This air circulation can stir up bacteria and other contaminants located on the floor, and cause them to become airborne. Once airborne, the surgical site can become contaminated putting the patient at risk for infection. This risk is particularly high for those undergoing orthopedic procedures.
Did 3M know about this problem? The creator, Dr. Scott Augustine says that he warned 3M of the potential for waste heat to stir up contaminants within the product when they bought it. He alleges that the Bair Hugger’s infection risks were known as early as 2010 and intentionally hidden to maintain sales.
Serious & Fatal Infections
An infection can get deep inside the joints, causing ongoing pain and suffering for the patient. Some require follow up surgeries; others need amputation of the limbs. Serious infections can even cause a wrongful death.