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Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP | Oct 7, 2015

Questions Arise About Bair Hugger Warming Blankets Safety

Categories: Product Liability

Doctors use forced-air warming blankets to help regulate the internal temperatures of surgical patients. The therapy has been known to be very effective when done properly. However, not all warming blankets are created equally. Invented by Dr. Scott Augustine, the Bair Hugger warming blanket was the first of its kind. Since its release, there has been much debate over the safety and effectiveness of the device.

Studies have found that the Bair Hugger can cause contaminated airflow to be pulled up from the ground of the operating room and spread through the surgery site. The airborne contaminants can then affect the open surgical sites. One of the most common forms of injury is deep joint infections. Such infections can require the patient to undergo extensive IV antibiotic treatments or even an amputation.

The Bone and Joint Journal investigated the allegations made against the Bair Hugger. They looked at how issues of infection arose in joint replacement surgeries. They found a significant increase in deep joint infections incidents when a warming blanket was used. Dr. McGovern and Dr. Reed found a 74% reduction of the infection when Bair Hugger was not used. In comparison, a similar device, the HotDog air-free warming device had lower incidents of infections related to its usage.

The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists found that 96% of Bair Hugger users experienced air contaminants. The study measured particles per second and found 82,500 contaminants. Researchers found the contaminants occurred inside the Bair Hugger because the device did not have the appropriate filtration system setup. Additionally, the Clinical Quality and Infection Control questions the general usage of forced-air warming blankets.

Doctors and medical device manufacturers have a responsibility to protect their patients. If a medical device leads to serious injuries that could have been prevented, it is important to hold the creators and producers of the device responsible. If you were injured by a Bair Hugger, contact our Cleveland product liability attorneys today.