September 14, 2015 — A growing number of lawsuits blame the Bair Hugger forced-air warming blanket for causing antibiotic-resistant infections.
The Bair Hugger is designed to keep patients warm by blowing hot air into a single-use blanket. In 2010, its inventor, Dr. Scott Augustine, told the New York Times that it can
More recently, a lawsuit (PDF) was filed on July 25 in federal court in Minnesota (Case No. 0:15-cv-03142) against 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare Inc. The plaintiff, Renny Schackmann, underwent right hip revision surgery in May 2013.
The lawsuit claims the Bair Hugger introduced Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) into the open surgical wound. These infections are extremely dangerous because they can rapidly cause deadly sepsis. According to the complaint:
“Due to the infection, Plaintiff needed six additional surgical procedures to remove the implant and clean the infected area within less than eleven months from the revision implant surgery.”
The ordeal left Schackmann with impaired mobility, “making the simple movement of walking a challenge.” Schackmann is not alone — many other lawsuits have been filed by victims of antibiotic-resistant infection. One of the first lawsuits was filed in March 2014 Kansas by a 70 year-old man named Timothy Johnson who developed a MRSA infection and had to have his leg amputated.
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