Hip Replacement Infection Lawsuit

Published on June 30, 2015 by Sandy Liebhard

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Recuperation from hip replacement surgery is never easy, but recovery becomes even more difficult should an infection develop around the surgical site or implant. While doctors take many precautions to avoid these complications, the use of forced air warming blankets may increase the risk of infection no matter the amount of care taken by surgeons and medical staff. Once a hip replacement infection sets in, patients face weeks and even months of treatments, including the possibility of additional surgery to remove and replace their implant.

You may be entitled to file a hip replacement infection lawsuit if you developed MRSA, sepsis or other post-op infection due to the use of the 3M Bair Hugger or other forced air warming blanket. The 3M forced air warming system has already been named in a number of product liability claims that allege airflow from the device can pick up bacteria from operating room floors, enabling these contaminants to come into contact with hip implants and other artificial joints. If you believe that you or a loved one might be eligible to file a similar claim, please call to speak with an attorney at Bernstein Liebhard LLP today.

Hip Replacement Infections

Hip replacement infections, while rare, usually have devastating consequences for patients, as they are extremely difficult to treat. Generally, the immune system does an effective job of warding off dangerous bacteria. However, the body’s defenses are no match for bacteria when it contaminates the metal, plastic and ceramic that make up hip and other joint implants. In such cases, the infection may become a systemic problem. Removal and replacement of the hip implant may be required to bring the infection under control, in spite of aggressive antibiotic therapy and other treatments.

Symptoms commonly associated with hip replacement infections may include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Warmth and Redness at Surgical Site
  • Wound Drainage
  • Fever and Chills
  • Fatigue

Victims of hip implant infections often require repeat surgeries, prolonged treatment with IV antibiotics, and extensive physical therapy to eliminate the infection and repair the associated damage. In the worst cases, amputation of the affected limb may even be necessary.

Forced Air Warmer Lawsuits

The 3M Bair Hugger and other forced air warming systems are used during joint replacement surgeries to keep a patient’s body temperature at an optimal level. Such devices consist of a portable heater/blower connected by a flexible hose to a disposable blanket that blows hot air on a patient’s exposed skin

In 2013, a hip replacement infection lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Texas man who allegedly developed a serious post-operative infection due to the 3M Bair Hugger. The complaint alleges that air used by the Bair Hugger was discharged under the surgical table, where it picked up germs from the operating room floor. That contaminated air was then recirculated into the patient’s hip implant. Following his 2011 surgery, the plaintiff underwent 15 different operations to deal with the infection and its aftermath, but was ultimately forced to undergo revision surgery to replace his hip implant.

The nationwide law firm of Bernstein Liebhard LLP is now investigating similar complaints associated with the use of forced air warmer systems in hip and knee replacement surgery. If you would like to learn more about pursuing a hip replacement infection lawsuit, please call to schedule a free, no-obligation legal review.

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