A woman has filed a products liability lawsuit against Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, the 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare Inc., alleging that she was severely burned after undergoing surgery with a Bair Hugger warming blanket.
What’s the Problem?
November 14, 2016 – According to the lawsuit, Plaintiff Diane Shannon suffered burns to various parts of her body which were caused by a Bair Hugger machine.
The Bair Hugger uses forced, warm air to prevent and treat hypothermia in surgical patients. The device, which was created by Dr. Scott Augustine and approved by the FDA in 1998, consists of a warming unit and disposable blanket that distributes warm air across the patient before, during and/or after surgery. Studies have shown that keeping a patient warm during surgery helps regulate their body temperature and prevents hypothermia, which results in less bleeding and faster recovery time.
However, the Bair Hugger has been linked to hundreds of reports of hospital-acquired infections that occur when the device transports bacteria from the floor into the surgical site. Patients have also reported being burned from exposure to heat during the surgery or equipment malfunctions that allowed cold air to circulate underneath the blanket.
Plaintiff is seeking judgement against the defendants in excess of $50,000 plus court costs. The case is: Cook County Circuit Court Case number 16L010954.
In December 2015, a panel of judges issued an order to transfer federal lawsuits alleging injuries from the Bair Hugger blanket into a multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2666) in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota. The MDL was established to preside over all federally filed cases alleging that the Bair Hugger disrupts air ventilation in the operation room, causing infections and burns which have led to multiple surgeries and even amputation of affected limbs. As of September 2016, nearly 700 lawsuits were pending in the MDL.