Veteran Alleges Leg Amputation from Bair Hugger Infection

A Vietnam vet and former member of the New Orleans Police Department has filed a suit alleging that the Bair Hugger blanket caused the amputation of his left leg.

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A veteran of the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) and Vietnam War has filed a product liability lawsuit against the 3M Company alleging that a defect in its Bair Hugger forced-air warming blanket led to the amputation of his left leg.

What’s the Problem?

March 29, 2016 – According to the lawsuit, Plaintiff Lee Edward Peyton underwent a total left knee joint replacement surgery at Omega Hospital in Jefferson Parish, LA., in which a Bair Hugger was used to keep him warm. The device, which works like a forced-air heater, carries warmed air through a hose to a special blanket that is draped over a patient, according to The New York Times.

Peyton claims the Bair Hugger blew airborne bacteria onto his open surgical knee wound, causing an MRSA infection in his left knee. Immediately after surgery, plaintiff alleges he developed severe pain, swelling, puss and a foul smell around the knee. As a result, the knee implant failed and Peyton was required to undergo additional medical procedures including 6 more surgeries, the removal of his knee joint, and finally the amputation of his left leg just below the hip.

Peyton alleges that the defendants knew about the defect and yet misled the public and medical communities about the safety and effectiveness of the Bair Hugger blanket. He also claims that the defendants reduced the efficiency of the device between 2002 and 2009, which reduced the blower and allowed bacteria to build up in the airways. Plaintiff alleges that the defendants’ unlawful and deceptive practices directly caused him and many other patients harm.

The lawsuit was filed March 4 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana against 3M Co. and Arizant Healthcare Inc. under case number 2:16-cv-01836-EEF-JCW. Plaintiff is seeking damages for breach of express warranty, design defect and liability under the Louisiana Products Liability Act.


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