Forced air warmers are a popular way to regulate the body temperature of surgical patients who are anesthetized. In the last few years, over 500 lawsuits have been filed by people who say they cause infections.
What You Can Do & How We Can Help
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was diagnosed with an infection, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Medical Device Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
During surgery, anesthetized patients cannot regulate their body temperature and are at risk of hypothermia and other complications. Forced-air warming blankets like 3M’s Bair Hugger help avoid these complications by pumping warm air into a special, single-use blanket that is draped over the patient.
What is the problem?
The inventor of the Bair Hugger, an anesthesiologist named Dr. Scott Augustine, has warned doctors to stop using it due to the risk of infections, according to the New York Times. The forced air, he says, can spread bacteria associated with hospital-acquired infections. He says this risk can be avoided by using a device that works more like an electric blanket.
Studies Link Warming Blankets and Contamination Risk
A number of studies suggest that forced air warming blankets can pick up dirty air in an operating room. One study found that 1000X more contaminated particles were drawn up from the floor when a forced air warming blanket was used. In another study published by Anesthesia & Analgesia, researchers warned:
“[F]orced air warming was found to establish convection currents that mobilized resident air from nonsterile areas (under the anesthesia drape) upward and into the surgical site.”
Surgical Site Infections from Forced Air Warming
Hospitals are full of people with very serious illnesses, and a growing problem is the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Several people have blamed force air warming blankets on their life-threatening infections, including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
One woman who developed MRSA after a routine knee replacement had to have 15 surgeries and her entire leg amputated at the hip.
Hip Implant Infection Lawsuit
Lawsuits have been filed by people who developed deep joint infections after a forced air warmer was used during their hip replacement surgery. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, one lawsuit was filed by a 70 year-old man who needed 15 surgeries and had to have his artificial hip removed.
Burn Injuries from Forced Air Warmers
Many people have had severe third-degree burns caused by “hosing,” in which the hose of a forced air warmer is detached from the blanket and hot air is blown directly on the patient. In one case report, a burned woman developed muscle necrosis and had to have her leg amputated. Lawsuits have already been filed by people who blame hospitals and doctors for misusing the device.
Risks of Forced Air Warming Blankets
- Surgical site infections
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
- Joint infections
- Hip or knee replacement implant failure
- Revision surgery
Do I have a Forced Air Warming Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was diagnosed with a surgical infection, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Medical Device Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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