Nearly 100 New Bair Hugger Lawsuits Join Federal Litigation

Published on March 3, 2017 by Laurie Villanueva

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Deep joint infection lawsuits involving the 3M Company’s Bair Hugger forced air warming system continue to mount in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota.

According to an updated docket report issued by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), 1,203 cases were pending in the proceeding  as of February 17th. The figure indicates that nearly 100 new lawsuits were filed in or transferred to the  proceeding since January 16th, when the JPML issued its previous report.

The Bair Hugger litigation was established in December 2015 to allow the federal docket to undergo coordinated pretrial proceedings.  At the time, just over 60 cases were pending in various federal courts around the U.S.

What is the Bair Hugger Litigation About?

According to, the 3M Bair Hugger is a surgical warming system employed by thousands of hospitals to help patients maintain an optimal body temperature during surgery. The system consists of a portable heater connected to an inflatable, single-use blanket via a flexile plastic tube. The blanket is placed over the patient during surgery, while the heater pulls in and warms ambient air. The warmed air is then forced into the blanket.

Introduced in 1987 by Arizant Healthcare Inc. (since acquired by the 3M Company), the Bair Hugger is now considered the gold-standard for patient warming. However, plaintiffs who have filed deep joint infection lawsuits in Minnesota claim that the forced air warming system suffers from a design flaw that alters the flow of air in the operating room, potentially exposing the surgical site to contaminants from the floor. They further assert that the airflow paths of the Bair Hugger’s blower may become contaminated and expel pathogens into the surgical theater. According to their complaints, these problems increase the odds that  patients undergoing hip or knee replacement surgery will develop a deep joint infection at the site of their implant. Finally, plaintiffs claim that the  3M Company and Arizant have been aware of the Bair Hugger’s alleged defects for years, yet have done nothing to mitigate its risks or warn the medical community.

Bernstein Liebhard LLP is actively filing Bair Hugger lawsuits in the federal multidistrict litigation. To learn more, please call (888) 498-0029 to contact our legal team today.

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