Suffered an Infection After Knee Replacement Surgery?

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Bair Hugger Infection After Knee Replacement Lawyer

An X-ray of a knee joint from the front and the side, with red shading to indicate pain.

If you’ve received surgery, you might have used a patient warming device like the Bair Hugger without knowing it. During surgery, a patient’s body must be kept at a constant temperature. If their body temperature drops below 96.8° Fahrenheit (36° Celsius), patients can be at risk of perioperative hypothermia, blood loss, infection, and even death.

To keep you warm on the operating table, surgeons use various patient warming devices, one of which is the 3M-manufactured Bair Hugger. However, multiple plaintiffs allege that the Bair Hugger actually increased their risk for infection, due to 3M’s negligence while manufacturing the devices, so they’ve contacted experienced mass tort attorneys to help them get the compensation they deserve. According to the defective medical device lawsuit against 3M, the company failed to properly test the Bair Hugger, and later failed to warn the public of its risks. This is where personal injury law comes in!

What Is the Bair Hugger?

Invented in 1987, the Bair Hugger system has helped keep millions of patients stable during operations. It’s what’s known as a forced air surgical warming blanket, and works by pumping warm air to a blanket covering the patient, which circulates under the surgical table and around the patient before, during, and after surgery.

The Bair Hugger and other warming devices are crucial for a patient’s health during and after surgery. These devices help maintain the patient’s body temperature in a stable range, which reduces the risk of complications.

Why Is the Bair Hugger Dangerous?

Surgical calipers on a prep table with a team of surgeons performing knee replacement surgery in the background.

Evidence has shown that the forced-air method of warming a patient on the operating table can carry significant risk of contamination. One study, published in the Bone & Joint Journal, reported that forced air contains up to 2,000 times more contaminants than alternatives like conductive fabrics, which means that this defective medical product can make people extremely ill.

These contaminants put the patient at a higher risk of infection, particularly patients undergoing knee replacements and hip replacements, as well as those with one or more of the following confounding risk factors:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • A compromised immune system, from a disease, disorder, or immunosuppressive treatments
  • Peripheral vascular disease

Infections in bones and joints can be particularly hard to cure because of their location deep inside the body. To recover from infections, patients can require strong antibiotics, further surgery, or even limb amputation or joint fusion. If you’ve suffered an infection after an invasive surgery, you could be eligible for compensation to help pay for medical and related costs.

Complications of Medical Blankets

Despite the fact that they’re designed to prevent infections, some medical blankets have led to serious infections in patients receiving medical implants like knee implants, hip implants, and artificial heart valves. Because of the depth of these tissues, contaminants in the tubing and other parts of medical blankets like the Bair Hugger can lead to infections including

  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other staph infections
  • Deep joint infection (DJI)
  • Periprosthetic joint infection (PJI)
  • Soft-tissue infection (SSI)
  • Cellulitis
  • Sepsis

The medical complications resulting from these infections can cause serious health problems, requiring extensive further medical treatment, extended hospital stays, and staggering medical bills.

Did 3M Know About the Bair Hugger’s Issues?

Plaintiffs in the various mass tort actions against 3M regarding the Bair Hugger allege that the company has known about the risks of the product for years, and have failed to fix the issues or properly warn doctors and patients about the risks. Supporting this claim is the Bair Hugger’s own inventor, Dr. Scott Augustine, who warned the manufacturer of the dangers back in 2010.

Therefore, the plaintiffs claim that 3M knew about the risks of bacterial infections from Bair Hugger use in surgical contexts since at least 2011, but did nothing to change its design or warn the public. This will be the main fact the plaintiffs will need to prove to receive compensation for their injuries.

A doctor bandages a patient's knee after checking for infection after surgery.

If you’ve had a hip or knee implant, a Bair Hugger was most likely used in your surgery—surgeons use the device in about 80% of implant surgeries. Knee and hip implants, and other deep tissue surgical patients, are particularly at risk for major infection because the procedure is so long and invasive.

If you suffered an infection after a hip or knee replacement that required further surgery or other costly medical intervention, discuss your legal options with an experienced medical device lawyer as soon as possible. There is a time limit on bringing a claim, so you don’t want to wait.

Recalled Bair Hugger Devices

Because of a different design defect in many Bair Hugger devices, 3M recalled over 150,000 Bair Huggers in 2018. The company asserts that this defect, which prevented the blankets from circulating air properly, is unrelated from previous allegations. However, the fact remains that the following lots of Bair Hugger devices have been recalled:

  • R10359
  • R10360
  • R10361
  • R10362
  • R10363
  • R10364
  • R10365
  • R10366

Possible Compensation After a Bair Hugger Claim

If you or a loved one developed an infection after a knee or hip replacement surgery, you could be eligible for compensation from the manufacturer of Bair Hugger devices. A settlement or successful judgment could help you pay for

  • Medical expenses, including costs of successive surgeries, prescriptions, and others
  • Past and future rehabilitation expenses
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Pain and suffering, as well as other Non-economic Losses
  • Funeral expenses, loss of consortium, and other losses related to a wrongful death

What to Do If You’ve Suffered an Infection After a Knee Replacement

Gordon McKernan, Louisiana mass tort lawyer, in three-quarter profile.

Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys understand the frustration, pain, and hurt you can feel after being harmed by someone else’s negligence. That’s why we’ve practiced personal injury law in Louisiana for decades. When it’s a major corporation that failed to do their due diligence before bringing a product to market, that hurt can turn into outrage.

You need a passionate advocate for your rights against the greed of corporations. Call our team at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys today at 888.501.7888 for a free consultation about your legal options. We’ll work with you to determine your eligibility for joining a mass tort action, and we can help you gather evidence, file paperwork, and more. Get the compensation you deserve after your post-surgical injury. Call Gordon McKernan today.

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