You may not know it, but an infection following a surgery may be caused by a forced air warming blanket like the Bair Hugger blanket. These blankets are used to regulate temperatures that drop due to anesthesia, but also may be blowing possibly contaminated air into open surgical sites. The blankets, which look similar in appearance to inflatable pool rafts, are very commonly used in surgeries where patients receive artificial joints or heart valves. They work by warming air in the room and blowing it on the patient, but also create warm, rising airflow currents that deposit bacteria directly into the surgical site.
Bair Hugger blankets were developed more than 20 years ago by Dr. Scott Augustine, a Minnesota anesthesiologist. Dr. Augustine manufactured the blankets through a company called Arizant, which was purchased in 2010 by 3M. More than 25 different blankets are available, to meet the needs of various patients and different procedures. In the last year, more than a dozen lawsuits have been filed from individuals who have suffered infections following surgical procedures involving warming blankets. If you or someone you love had surgery and then developed a MRSA infection, bacterial infection, or septic arthritis, please contact Estey Bomberger for a free consultation and evaluation of your potential case. We are here to answer your questions and help you understand your legal rights to compensation.