New Lawsuit Filed over Bair Hugger Surgical Blanket

3M and Arizant Healthcare are facing another lawsuit filed over the Bair Hugger surgical blanket. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a New York man who suffered a deep joint infection, allegedly due to the Bair Hugger warming blanket used during surgery. The suit, filed on Aug. 11, adds to over 450 similar cases pending in federal and state court in Minnesota.

Bair Hugger lawsuits have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Minnesota. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation sometimes establishes these types of mass torts in order to make complex litigation more efficient. In an MDL, lawsuits with very similar allegations are consolidated to one court before one judge in order to eliminate duplicate discovery and streamline the legal process.

In the case of the Bair Hugger MDL, plaintiffs allege that the warming blanket caused deep joint surgical infections due to its forced-air design. The lawsuits allege that the forced-air design picks up contaminants from the operating room floor and deposits them into the surgical site. Most of the plaintiffs allege that they suffered an infection with the Bair Hugger after undergoing a knee or hip replacement or cardiovascular surgery.

Most of the lawsuits allege that the Bair Hugger caused infection with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), bacteria that is resistant to most antibiotics.

The plaintiff in the recent lawsuit alleges that he had to undergo additional surgeries and antibiotic therapy due to the infection, which was allegedly caused by the Bair Hugger. The suit seeks compensation for economic loss, pain and suffering and loss of consortium on behalf of his spouse.

3M and Arizant are accused of failing to warn about the risk of deep joint infections. The lawsuit alleges that the product was designed defectively. The suit also alleges that the companies breached the implied warranty and violated the Consumer Fraud and/or Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Law of the state of New York.

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