Patient Safety News: Bair Hugger caused devastating infections, multiple surgeries, patients claim

Two people from Texas recently shared their stories about devastating post-surgery infections they believe were caused by Bair Hugger blanket devices, which are used by hospitals to keep patients warm.

Tommy Walton and Dianne Dunn spoke about their experiences with health reporter Haley Hernandez of KPRC News in Houston. Both Walton and Dunn had hip surgery, followed by more than a dozen additional surgeries that were necessary because of infection to the original surgical wound. Dunn does not ever expect to walk again.

“I was in bed for six months, you know, and couldn’t get out of bed,” Dunn told Hernandez. “Then I go from that to a wheelchair, and then you have to maneuver and not be able to use my legs and use my arms.”

Lawsuits continue to mount against manufacturer 3M for its Bair Hugger blanket devices, which have been used by hospitals since the 1980s to keep patients warm before, during, and after surgery involving anesthesia.

Working in collaboration with other national law firms, Berman & Simmons is handling claims involving patients who developed serious infections after surgeries in which Bair Hugger and other forced-air heating systems were used.

Dozens of Bair Hugger lawsuits have been filed nationwide against 3M and its subsidiary company, Arizant Healthcare, which sells more than 20 models in the Bair Hugger product line.

Overall, the lawsuits allege that 3M and Arizant Healthcare were aware of the risks of hospital-acquired infection, particularly for joint surgery and heart valve replacement patients, but did not warn patients or the medical community. Some claims also allege the companies tried to conceal scientific research that found problems with forced-air warming systems.