3M Co. is facing more than 50 lawsuits from orthopedic surgery patients claiming the Minnesota company’s Bair Hugger warming blankets circulated contaminants, causing crippling deep-joint infections.
The Bair Hugger blankets are used to keep patients warm before surgery in about 80 percent of U.S. hospitals, and have been used in more than 200 million surgeries since 1987.
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The blankets are made with rows of inflatable tubes which fill with hot air that warms patients. A flexible hose pushes hot air over a patient’s body, and also releases air underneath the surgical table. Reportedly, the air being released under the table can cause germs and bacteria to be dispersed and circulated, which can result in an infection
Hospitals use these blankets to prevent heat loss from the body’s core to improve surgical outcomes, and also to reduce the risk of a patient getting hypothermia from anesthesia.
Dr. Scott Augustine, inventor of the Bair Hugger devices, has spoken out against the devices he created, calling on 3M to recall the products.
No one should suffer from an infection after surgery, especially when it is caused by a device that is intended to improve.