Patient Blames Hospital Infection on Bair Hugger

When we go to the hospital for surgery or any other type of care we expect that we will be well taken care of and at least healthier when we leave. Unfortunately, some medical devices that are used during surgery to keep patients’ body temperatures normal are also leading to some serious and life-threatening infections. If you or someone you know has developed a serious infection or other dangerous medical condition after having a surgical procedure in the hospital, you should speak to a dangerous medical device and Bair Hugger injury lawyer at the Higgins Firm. We will listen to your case and help you to receive the compensation you need for what you have been through.

According to this case, Rosie Bartel went into the hospital for knee replacement surgery years ago and left the hospital with a MRSA infection which led to the need for twenty-seven more surgeries and the amputation of right leg just below the hip. She blamed the use of a Bair Hugger forced-air patient warming system during her surgery, eventually filed a Bair Hugger lawsuit. In her lawsuit, she claimed that the MRSA infection took more than her leg. It also led to the loss of her job and eventually her home. Bartel has now become an advocate against the forced-air surgical warming systems that were employed during no fewer than twenty-two million surgical procedures in 2012 alone.
The Bair Hugger warming blanket was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1988 . A blanket dotted with a myriad of tiny holes connects to a forced-air heating unit that rests on the floor near the operating table. The unit carries heat via forced air to the blanket, with the warm air transferred to the patient through the blanket. While the heat and air unit remained a constant, single-use blankets meant a revenue source for the manufacturer. After several years in use, infections were becoming a problem, and especially for joint replacement surgery where a single germ could have devastating consequences.

A report that published in November of 2014 in the Journal of Hospital Infection sited at least ten peer-reviewed studies that suggested use of forced-air warming systems such as the Bair Hugger succeeded in the introduction of contamination to the operating field. The problem appears to occur when heat from the floor situated blower is engaged. Introducing heat causes contaminated air from the floor to rise in the room. Various demonstrations with smoke and/or bubbles and a laser light source appear reveal this. The warm air rises and collects above the operating field, before it cools and falls into the operating field, bringing whatever contamination it originally brought from the floor, down with it.

People who support the use of Bair Hugger claim that potential contamination have not been proven. It is true that researchers state that more studies need to be done. There is no data that suggests causation beyond mere association. They state however that, “forced air warming does contaminate ultra-clean air ventilation; however, there appears to be no definite link to an increased risk of surgical site infection based on current research. Nevertheless, whereas this remains unproven, we recommend that surgeons should at least consider alternative patient-warming systems in areas where contamination of the operative field may be critical.”

It should be taken into consideration that the e co-founder of the Bair Hugger and an early proponent of patient warming is no longer associated with the Bair Hugger device and is speaking out against its continued use, citing potential surgical site infection and contamination.
If you or someone you care about has developed a serious infection after surgery and you suspect that a Bair Hugger warming blanket may have been used, then you should contact one of our compassionate and knowledgeable dangerous medical device and Bair Hugger injury lawyers with the Higgins Firm. We care about our clients and will see to it that you get the compensation that is rightfully yours for your injuries.

You can contact us online or by calling 800.705.2121 to discuss your case and any questions you might have.

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