August 22, 2016 — 3M is facing about 550 lawsuits from people who developed joint infections after the Bair Hugger forced-air warming device was used in their surgery.
The lawsuits have been consolidated in federal court in Minnesota since December 2015, where they are overseen by U.S. District Judge Joan N. Ericksen (MDL No. 2666).
All of the lawsuits claim the Bair Hugger is defective. According to one lawsuit:
“This escaped air creates air flow currents that flow against the downward air flow of the operating room. As this warmed air rises, it deposits bacteria from the floor of the surgical room into the surgical site.
Lawsuits also claim the intern airflow paths of the device can become contaminated with bacteria, resulting in pathogens blowing into the operating room and onto a patient.
Most of the lawsuits involve patients who had a hip or knee replacement and developed a deep joint infection. These infections are often complex and require revision surgery for the artificial joint.
3M continues to vigorously defended the Bair Hugger. Earlier this year, 3M published a research compendium with data from over 200 studies since 1987, when the Bair Hugger was approved. A spokeswoman for the company said the data “reaffirms the safety and effectiveness of this system.”