Hip and knee replacement patients who allegedly developed deep joint infections related to the Bair Hugger patient warming system continue to file claims in the federal multidistrict litigation underway in Minnesota. According to a report issued by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), 1,343 Bair Hugger lawsuits were pending in the proceeding as of March 15th, indicating that 140 new complaints were either filed in or transferred to the litigation during the prior month.
Federally-filed Bair Hugger infection claims were centralized in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota back in December 2015. Initially, just 14 cases were transferred to the proceeding, while 55 others pending in federal courts were eligible for transfer at that time. The number reported by the JPML on March 15th indicates that more than 1,200 new claims have been filed in federal court since the centralized docket was created. Additional Bair Hugger lawsuits are also pending in state courts.
According to RXInjuryHelp.com, the Bair Hugger litigation involves a forced air warming system marketed by the 3M Company’s Arizant Healthcare, Inc. subsidiary that is used to prevent hypothermia in patients undergoing surgery. The apparatus consists of a disposable, inflatable blanket that is connected to a portable heater via flexible plastic tube. During surgery, the blanket is draped over or placed under the patient. The Bair Hugger’s heater then draws in and warms ambient air, which is then forced through the hose into the blanket.
The cases pending in the District of Minnesota were filed on behalf of patients who developed deep joint infections following hip or knee implant surgery that employed the Bair Hugger system. They blame the forced air warmer for their infections, and charge that it suffers from a design defect that changes the airflow of the operating room. This action purportedly allows potentially pathogen-ridden air from the operating room floor to enter the open surgical site and contaminate the implant. They further claim that 3M and Arizant have been aware of this problem for years, but have deliberately failed to warn the medical community about this risk.
There is still time for alleged victims of Bair Hugger infections to join this litigation. To learn more, please contact Bernstein Liebhard LLP today by calling (888) 707-5440.