3M Company is the manufacturer of the Bair Hugger air warming blanket–a medical device used for temperature management during surgery. The device contains two parts: the disposable single-use blanket and the warming unit. Connected by a flexible hose, the warming unit produces hot air that is forced through a hose into the blanket to regulate a sedated patient’s body temperature. The purpose is to prevent heat loss and reduce the risk of hypothermia.
Despite claims by 3M that the Bair Hugger device filtered the forced air, there are multiple reports of patients suffering postoperative infections after exposure to the device. Research has shown that convection currents force contaminated air from non-sterile areas—such as surgical drapes or floors—into sterile surgical fields during procedures, thereby increasing the risk of serious infections.
In January 2018, 3M recalled over 160,000 Bair Hugger air warming blankets due to design defects leading to infections and other health complications. The FDA reported the Bair Hugger recall in February 2018; at that time approximately 80% of hospitals relied on this device for surgical procedures.
Over 5,000 claims have been filed against 3M alleging various complications, including:
- Permanent cartilage and bone damage
- Organ damage
- Deep joint infections
- Thermal burns
- Additional surgeries
- Implant removal
- Physical therapy
- Use of intravenous antibiotic therapy
- Prolonged hospitalizations
Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you or a loved one were exposed to a Bair Hugger air warming blanket during a surgical procedure and suffered from any of the above-mentioned conditions. Please contact Slater Slater Schulman LLP at 1-800-251-6990 or fill out our online form, and an attorney will contact you to discuss a potential claim.