Articles Posted in Bair Hugger

The Bair Hugger is a medical device that is used to keep patients warm and regulate body temperature during surgery. New research has shown, however, that the Bair Hugger increases the risk of infections by pushing bacteria into the body during surgery. This has prompted thousands of Bair Hugger infection lawsuits which have been consolidated into a class action MDL.

Bair Hugger Lawsuit Update

July 27, 2023: The latest update on the 3m Bair Hugger cases found 5,251 pending claims in the MDL.  This quiet MDL is the 8th largest in the country.

We have opened up the comments section below if you want to share your experiences.

July 14, 2023:  While 3M is unhappy with every judge within ten feet of the 3M earplug lawsuits, it has a different take on the Bair Hugger lawsuits.  The plaintiffs’ lawyers have raised objections about a potential conflict of interest, as the magistrate judge had previously owned 3M shares and his wife had an association with the company. 3M wants to keep the judge in place.

The Bair Hugger plaintiffs’ lawyers have also tried to disqualify the main MDL judge, too.  Why?  The reasons for this remain confidential. But confidential or not, that motion was rejected as this new one will likely be as well. The reality is it is not comforting to return to the same judge that tried to dismiss your cases and was overturned on appeal.

June 1, 2023: The Supreme Court has rejected 3M’s petition for review concerning the re-establishment of consolidated litigation over its Bair Hugger surgical warming blankets. 3M had argued that the Eighth Circuit had employed an excessively lenient standard in allowing expert witnesses for patients who underwent joint-replacement procedures. But the Supreme Court has no interest in even hearing the case.

Despite the court’s decision, there is honestly not abundant enthusiasm regarding these lawsuits. Nonetheless, the possibility of settlement remains. Not long ago, the presiding judge in the MDL appointed retired Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan as a mediator. Renowned for his ability to navigate complex legal disputes through mediation, Boylan’s involvement offers a glimmer of hope. His role is to guide negotiations and dialogue among the parties, aiming to find a solution that everyone finds acceptable.

April 17, 2023:  As of today, the latest update is there are 5,173 plaintiffs are in this warming blanket class action lawsuit.

April 17, 2023 Update: Plaintiffs in a case against 3M have filed a disqualification motion against US District Judge Joan Ericksen of Minneapolis and Judge David Schultz, the federal magistrate in the multidistrict litigation (MDL). The motion alleges that Ericksen engaged a retired products liability defense attorney as an adviser while considering a critical 3M motion and relied on his legal theories in her decision, which was later overturned by the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals. The plaintiffs also claim that Schultz’s financial adviser bought and sold 3M shares during the MDL. 3M opposes the disqualification of Ericksen and Schultz and refutes the plaintiffs’ causation claims.

March 13, 2023 Update: a new Bair Hugger infection lawsuit (Jones v. 3M Co., et al., 23-cv-603) was filed in the MDL in the District of Minnesota today. The plaintiff, Cheryl Jones, is an Alabama resident who underwent knee replacement surgery in April 2021 during which the Bair Hugger device was used. She subsequently developed a deep joint infection which required her to undergo multiple additional surgeries on her knee.

February 12, 2023 Update: the first status conference in the newly reopened Bair Hugger class action MDL was held this week before Judge Joan Ericksen.

December 16, 2022 Update: the Bair Hugger class action MDL has formally been reopened. On December 14, 2022, 3M sent a letter to MDL Judge Joan Ericksen asking that the MDL proceedings be reopened and resumed. In the letter, 3M claimed that nothing has really changed and urged Judge Ericksen to fast-track a new round of bellwether trials for the start of 2024. Today, the plaintiffs responded with their own letter saying that new evidence has emerged (specifically a new study published in JAMA in 2022) that strengthens their position on causation.

November 26, 2022 Update: 3M will get some insurance coverage for Bair Hugger claims. A federal court in Minnesota ruled this week that 3M must only pay a single deductible for more than 5,000 Bar Hugger lawsuits. But the insurance company –  Federal Insurance Co. is not on the hook for all of 3M’s attorneys’ fees and other defense costs in the warming device lawsuits because only a fraction of the claims fall within the insurance policy period.

May 18, 2022 Update: The Supreme Court rejected 3M’s appeal.

August 23, 2021 Update: Last week a federal appeals court reinstated 5,000 claims that had been dismissed and this litigation is back on. But few lawyers are taking new claims.

Should you bring a Bair Hugger lawsuit if you believe you suffered an infection from a Bair Hugger during surgery?  Decide for yourself.  But despite some early punches to the face for plaintiffs, there is still a reasonable chance these cases end well for plaintiffs.  Let’s talk about these cases, what there are, where they are going, and what are the prospects that the 3M Bair Hugger cases reach a settlement.

Bair Hugger

bair hugger lawsuit

Bair Hugger MDL Coming Soon?

A Bair Hugger device is a temperature management system that is used during surgery.  The purpose of the invention is to help the body regulate the appropriate temperature.  Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming Device is designed, manufactured, and marketed by Defendants 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare, Inc. There are more than 50,000 Bair Hugger FAWs in the United States.

How does it work? The Bair Hugger is a portable heater/blower connected by a flexible hose to a blanket, typically positioned for the patient getting surgery. The Bair Hugger pushed hot air through a hose into a blanket specially made to work with the device. The hot air produced by Bair Hugger accumulates under the surgical drape covering the patient.  This hot air escapes under the surgical drape below the level of the surgical table or over top of it.

So the Bair Hugger is designed to keep a patient’s body temperature normal during surgery by blowing hot air through a blanket. Keeping a patient warm is particularly useful during knee and hip replacement surgery because the procedures tend to be very long.   The body loses heat increasingly throughout the surgery.

Another thing about metal hip and knee replacement surgery is that your body is particularly prone to infection. Why?  The metal helps spread the infection.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuits argue that the device disrupts the air ventilation in the operating room, leading to infections, particularly in hip and knee surgeries, which have resulted in amputations and multiple surgeries. They also allege that 3M has been aware of the contamination issue since 2009.

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3M and one of its subsidiaries, Arizant Healthcare, are facing some heat over their Bair Hugger warming blanket. Lawsuits are starting to be filed, suggesting that the company knew that the use of the Bair Hugger could expose surgical patients to the risk of infection. Patients who underwent surgery for hip or knee replacements are at the greatest risk of infection.

The Bair Huggerbair hugger lawsuits

The Bair Hugger is a fairly interesting and ingenious device. When under anesthesia, the core body temperature drops a few degrees. While only a minor fluctuation, this drop in body temperature causes bleeding to increase in addition to longer recovery times. To address this, an anesthesiologist developed the Bair Hugger back in the 1980s. The device is a blanket of sorts that wraps around the patient on the operating table, blowing warm air to regulate their body temperature. As a result, a surgical patient’s core temperature can be maintained at exactly 98.6, ensuring minimal bleeding and recovery time.

The device is incredibly popular considering that it sees use in around 90% of all major surgeries. It is estimated that there are around 50,000 Bair Huggers in use around the country, meaning they are somewhat of a mainstay in the modern operating room.

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