Bair Hugger Side Effects & Health Complications
Hospitals routinely use Bair Hugger therapy to keep patients warm during orthopedic surgery. Bair Hugger inflatable warming blankets help maintain normal body temperature during surgery. Further, hospitals say that Bair Hugger forced-air warming blankets reduce bleeding and shorten recovery time. Since Bair Hugger forces air through a circulation tube, it can spread airborne bacteria to the patient’s open surgical site. Bacterial contamination may cause severe infections and complications, including additional surgery, amputation or even death. Short-term Bair Hugger side effects (like deep-joint infections) can become life-threatening complications. Since elderly patients are more likely to have hip and knee replacement surgeries using Bair Hugger systems, they should be especially vigilant about infection.
Bair Hugger Side Effects: Surgical Site Infections
The most common Bair Hugger side effects are serious surgical site infections. Patients should look for the following infection signs:
- Fevers and chills
- Increased stiffness
- Wound drainage
- Warmth or redness at surgical site
Some patients report increased joint pain weeks or months after surgery, which may signal infection. You should immediately report any infections (even mild ones) to your doctor.
Bair Hugger Side Effects: Antibiotic-Resistant Staph Infections
With orthopedic surgery infections, bacteria that’s already bonded to metal or plastic implants is much more difficult to kill. Infections near an orthopedic implant site can multiply quickly, causing even more pronounced and severe symptoms. Untreated infections can progress into sepsis or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which is resistant to most antibiotics.
Severe, deep joint infections usually require revision surgery as well as antibiotics, though this approach isn’t always completely effective. In more advanced cases, the patient may need joint fusion, implant removal, two-stage revision surgery or even limb amputation. Additionally, some patients need long-term antibiotic therapy, which has different associated side effects.
Bair Hugger Side Effects: Deep Joint Infection Cases
Many Bair Hugger patients reported post-surgery health complications caused by deep joint infections. These injured patients are suing Bair Hugger manufacturer 3M for failing to properly warn surgeons about serious side effect risks.
Alabama native Barbara Libby sued 3M in 2015, alleging that Bair Hugger caused severe infection in her right hip. As a result, Libby required seven additional surgeries to treat serious infection-related Bair Hugger side effects. According to Libby’s lawyer, she suffers from severe permanent injuries as well as reduced mobility. After his 2011 hip replacement surgery, 70-year-old Texan Tommy Walton suffered a debilitating deep joint infection. Walton blames 3M’s Bair Hugger for needing 15 more surgeries to address his ongoing health complications, including artificial hip removal. He filed a product liability lawsuit against 3M in 2013 and seeks $1 million in damages.
Renny Schackmann’s surgeon used a Bair Hugger patient warming blanket during his hip revision surgery in May 2013. Schackmann developed a serious post-arthroplasty MRSA infection, which required six additional revision surgeries within a year. In 2015, Schackmann filed a lawsuit seeking compensation due to permanent mobility impairment, since he now can barely walk.
Timothy Johnson’s Bair Hugger side effects case is perhaps the most severe of all. Johnson underwent a right total knee arthroplasty using a Bair Hugger warming system in 2010. Shortly thereafter, the 52-year-old Kansas man developed a severe deep joint infection that progressed into MRSA. Johnson required multiple knee surgeries, but was eventually forced to have his leg amputated. His lawsuit claims that Bair Hugger circulated MRSA bacteria “from the floor of the surgical room into the surgical site.” Additional product liability lawsuits are now underway, and nearly 700 claims were consolidated under the Bair Hugger MDL in Minnesota.
Bair Hugger Inventor Speaks Out On Safety Issues
Most cases against 3M include evidence based on statements from Dr. Scott D. Augustine, the Bair Hugger warming blanket’s inventor. Dr. Augustine openly campaigned against Bair Hugger after resigning from his chairman and chief executive positions at Arizant (which 3M acquired in 2002). He also admits Bair Hugger circulates contaminated air that deposits infectious bacteria onto surgical sites during orthopedic surgery.
Despite 3M’s claims that studies found Bair Hugger warming systems beneficial during surgery, Augustine states no orthopedic procedures were analyzed. Dr. Augustine wrote a letter to Arizant that was later obtained by The New York Times. It states, “The question for you to answer is the following; is Bair Hugger going to be replaced quickly and catastrophically by a mandatory recall, or do you survive a voluntary recall and live to fight another day?”
If you or a loved one used Bair Hugger during orthopedic surgery and developed severe infections, you may have a claim. Click the button below now to start your free case evaluation online to see if you may qualify for financial compensation. An attorney in your area will contact you to discuss your case.
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If you or a loved one developed severe infections after orthopedic surgery using the Bair Hugger forced warming air device, you may qualify for compensation from the manufacturer. Request your free case evaluation now to see if you may qualify.