3M is facing over 500 lawsuits from people who developed deep joint infections after the Bair Hugger forced-air warming device was used in their surgery.
The Bair Hugger is a special blanket used to keep surgery patients under anesthesia warm. It works like a forced-air heater, pushing warm air through a hose into a blanket that is draped over an unconscious patient.
The problem, critics say, is that the Bair Hugger can spread bacteria associated with hospital-acquired infections, according to the New York Times.
Lawsuits have already been filed by a man who had to have his leg amputated after developing an antibiotic-resistant infection following knee replacement surgery. Another lawsuit was filed by a man who had to have 15 surgeries after developing an infection following hip replacement surgery.