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Joint replacement infections can develop while you’re still in the hospital or after you go home. There are many complaints from patients alleging their infections were caused during the actual joint replacement surgery itself when a forced-air warming unit commonly used by hospitals called the Bair Hugger was used.
The Bair Hugger consists of a disposable blanket that is connected to a portable heater/blower by a flexible hose. The blanket is draped over or under a patient and is supposed to keep patients warm by blowing warm air on the exposed skin. The concern is that the heat generated by the device creates convection currents that can cause harmful bacteria to become airborne and fall into open surgical incisions.
This can potentially lead to a periprosthetic joint infection, an infection that occurs around the prosthetic joint implanted.
As of February 16, 2016, at least 112 product liability claims have been filed on behalf of patients who allege their post-operative hip and knee infections were caused by the Bair Hugger forced-air warmer blanket.
Lawsuits filed against 3M and its subsidiary Arizant Healthcare, Inc. cite things such as negligence, misrepresentation, fraud and deceit, design defect, and that both companies have known about the defect yet concealed the risk.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation centralized all pending Bair Hugger federal lawsuits before U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen in the District of Minnesota as part of an MDL.
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