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New Mexico Knee Replacement Infection Claim From Bair Hugger Surgical Warmer

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According to a product liability lawsuit filed earlier in January, a New Mexico woman claimed that she developed staphylococcus MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infection following knee replacement surgery.

bair hugger infection attorneySusan Borroughs filed her personal injury lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota aagainst 3M Company and it’s Arizant Healthcare subsidiary. Burroughs claims that she developed an antibiotic resistant MRSA infection from the use of a Bair Hugger surgical warming blanket during the knee procedure.

Borroughs underwent left knee replacement surgery in 2012, and she was diagnosed with a MRSA deep joint infection shortly afterwards. Borroughs underwent wound irrigation, debridement and the implant of an antibiotic spacer in her knee and several additional surgeries.

Borroughs alleges that she cannot walk without assistance and suffers chronic pain due to the infection.

What is the Bair Hugger Warmer?

The 3M Bair Hugger surgical warmer is used during hip and knee replacement procedures to maintain a patient’s core body temperature. Recently according to some medical studies, there are risks associated with the forced-air system which may allow bacterial contaminants to flood the sterile surgical field.

The Bair Hugger forces hot air into a warming blanket that is placed over the patient during surgery. According to Borroughs, the device disrupts the laminar flow of the operating room, and the surgical warmer may become contaminated with bacteria making the product unreasonably dangerous.

What is the problem with the Bair Hugger Warmer?

Bair Hugger infection lawsuits share similar allegations from use of the forced air warming blanket. Plaintiffs allege deep joint infections after hip implants and knee joint replacement surgeries. According to nationwide hospital data, the heating blankets is used in at least 80% of all orthopedic joint surgeries.

Plaintiffs allege that the faulty design of the Bair Hugger warmer allows bacteria from the operating room floor to be blown in the surgical wound, increasing the risk of infection. According to some experts safer alternative designs are available, and plaintiffs allege that 3M Company has continued tout the safety of their warming blanket despite negative medical studies and provided false and misleading information to the doctors and hospitals.

Federal Multidistrict Consolidation

Recently, 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, or Multi-District Litigation.

There are about 100 knee replacement and hip replacement infection lawsuits pending in the MDL, filed by folks diagnosed with MRSA, bacterial sepsis or other deep joint infections after the use of the surgical warming blanket.