Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

HomeTexasDallas-Fort Worth

Email Shezad Malik MD JD Shezad Malik MD JD on LinkedIn Shezad Malik MD JD on Twitter Shezad Malik MD JD on Facebook Shezad Malik MD JD on Avvo
Shezad Malik MD JD
Shezad Malik MD JD
Attorney • (888) 210-9693

What’s the Cause of Hip and Knee Implant Infections?

Comments Off

Knee and hip replacements are two of the most commonly performed elective operations in the United States, this is big business for doctors, device manufacturers and hospitals.

bair hugger infection attorneyUnfortunately, these commonly performed procedures are not without severe complications, including early failure of the device due to product defect/faulty design and implant infections.A significant number of patients undergoing hip or knee replacement develop a serious infection after the operation.

Joint replacement infections may occur in the wound or deep around the artificial implants. An infection may develop during the hospital stay or after the patient goes home.

Many hip and knee surgery patients who develop bacterial infections of their implants, have to undergo painful re-do surgeries, long term antibiotic treatment lasting weeks and in severe cases amputation because of overwhelming infection.

There are many causes for joint infections, including patient and surgical factors and according to some experts, it may be related to the bacteria in the operative room and hospital, since it is impossible to make the surgical room and hospital completely free of bacteria.

Now, an overlooked source of infections may be found. 3M and their Arizant Healthcare subsidiary are exposed to personal injury and product liability lawsuits over hip and knee replacement infections caused by Bair Hugger warming blankets.

What is the Bair Hugger warming blanket?

The Bair Hugger has been used in many orthopedic joint replacement procedures over the past 30 years, including hip and knee replacement surgery. The device blows hot air onto the patient’s body, the forced air warming (FAW) to help control the patient’s body temperature during surgery.

More than 50,000 Bair Hugger units are in hospitals across the U.S., and the warming blankets have been used on millions of patients. The lawsuits allege that 3M has known about the infection risk for years, but failed to make design changes or provide warnings to the doctors and hospitals.

How does the Bair Hugger warming blanket cause infections?

During long surgical procedures, the patient’s body temperature tends to drop, from lack of movement and the fact that the operating room is kept cold.

Hypothermia or a lower body temperature is a risk for post operative infections and so the Bair Hugger warming blanket was introduced to keep the patient’s temperature stable during surgery.

Now, according to hip and knee replacement infection lawsuits, the device causes bacteria and contaminants from the operating room floor to enter the sterile surgical field.

Allegation: Manufacturers lied to FDAThe complaints have similar allegations that 3M lied to the FDA about the unit’s effectiveness in filtering out and trapping bacterial contaminants.

Plaintiffs allege that 3M told the FDA that the Bair Hugger meets the High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) standard, when it does not, causing hip and knee replacement patients to face a risk of serious infection during the procedure.

3M Bair Hugger Minnesota Hip Infection Lawsuit

According to a recent lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, the Bair Hugger blanket caused Barbara Libby to develop a severe infection after a right hip replacement surgery in November 2010.

The complaint notes that as early as 1997, 3M admitted to the FDA that “air blown intraoperatively across the surgical wound may result in airborne contamination.”

Libby alleges that the Bair Hugger caused bacteria contamination in her surgical wound, resulting in severe infections and seven additional surgeries. Libby has now been left with permanent severe injuries and reduced mobility.

3M Bair Hugger Knee Infection Lawsuit

Michael Williams, claimed that he developed an infection following a right knee replacement surgery in February 2013, when a Bair Hugger warming blanket was used.

Williams needed two additional surgeries within less than nine months of the implant, the first to remove the artificial knee and place a temporary antibiotic spacer. Later, he underwent a second procedure to remove the spacer and place another knee implant.

Bair Hugger Infection Lawsuits Expected to Sky Rocket

As more folks get to know about the potential link between their knee or hip replacement infection and the Bair Hugger warming blanket, it is expected that the number of lawsuits will sky rocket.