November 24, 2015 — 3M Co. is facing lawsuits from more than 50 orthopedic surgery patients who blame the Bair Hugger warming blanket for causing severe infections, the Star-Tribune reports.
Lawyers for 3M say there are no studies proving the Bair Hugger causes infections. The blanket is used at four out of five hospitals, mostly during hip or knee replacements. Since 1987, it has been used during more than 200 million surgeries, according to 3M.
One of the most vocal critics of the device is its inventor, Dr. Scott Augustine. He now sells a competing patient-warming device called the HotDog that works more like an electric blanket.
Dr. Augustine says that problem is that waste heat from the system rises, disrupting the flow of sterile air inside an operating room and creating convection currents that can stir up non-sterile air off the floor. He told the Star-Tribune, “With regard to orthopedic infections, a scare is what’s needed. This product should never be on another orthopedic patient.”
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