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Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming Blankets

Before, during and after surgery, many patients are kept warm with a forced-air warming blanket. It’s a fairly standard practice to help ease pain and keep patients comfortable as they undergo surgery and prevent hypothermia. Keeping a normal body temperature around 98.6 greatly aids in recovery and prevents complications. The forced-air warming blankets have been in use widely since 1988 at many hospitals and surgery centers across the country.

But recent studies indicate these medical devices are problematic and may be causing more harm than good – and the company that makes them has been warned of problems. Hospital patients who have received knee or hip replacements may be at an increased risk of infection due to use of the warming blankets. The blankets can promote the spread of bacteria, creating dangerous infections in patients. In particular, the warming blankets may be to blame for deep joint infections. If a patient develops a deep joint infection, a second round of surgery or even amputation may be necessary to save the patient’s life. Some patients are reporting multiple rounds of revision surgeries to clear up infections.

Bair Hugger brand used often

One of the most common brands of this type of forced air warming blanket is the Bair Hugger. The system forces air throughout the disposable blanket before, during and after surgery. Though these have been used since the late 1980s, the doctor who invented the technology, Dr. Scott Augustine, stated publicly five years ago that the warming blankets should not be used on patients who are receiving implantable devices, such as hips and knees, because of the risk of bacterial infection.

Dr. Augustine no longer has any financial stake in the company that owns and sells the Bair Hugger forced-air warming blanket. He asked publicly in The New York Times article in December 2010, “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?”

The Bair Hugger forced air warming blanket is manufactured and marketed by 3M and its subsidiary, Arizant.

Kentucky patients may be entitled to damages

In many states including Kentucky, patients are filing lawsuits against the manufacturers of the Bair Hugger forced air warming blankets, and also against manufacturers of other similar products. Arizant makes many different types of this product, including those for pediatrics, those for upper body only or lower body only, and blankets for underneath the body during surgery.

English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley is accepting cases against Arizant that involve the forced air blanket, but you must act quickly to be sure the statute of limitations doesn’t expire before your case is filed. Speak to an experienced medical device attorney today so we can begin reviewing your case. Call us at (270) 781-6500 or fill out our contact form. There is no charge for an initial consultation.

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