New York Personal Injury & Product Liability Attorney


Bair Hugger Warming Blanket

How does it work?

The Bair Hugger Warming Blanket is a device used to help maintain a patient’s body temperature while they are undergoing surgery. By doing this, bleeding is decreased and recovery time is lessened along with other benefits. In order to maintain body temperature, warm air is pushed through a flexible hose into a blanket which is draped over the patient. The warm air is discharged over the patient’s body, meanwhile air is also released under the surgical table.

Complications Associated With This Device

The main issue with this device is that the air that gets discharged underneath may contain germs and bacteria, which can potentially land on the surgical site. Many problems and risks are then introduced, including deep joint infections, which are especially common during hip and knee surgeries. This device is also especially harmful to patients receiving artificial heart valves.

If an infection were to develop, treatment includes a combination of surgical procedures and antibiotic therapy. Severe cases may even require amputation, joint fusion, or removal and a two-stage revision surgery.

The usage of this device alone has shown a 400% increase of infection. The manufacturers of this device knew of these risks, but failed to warm doctors and patients.

What Causes Infection?

Generally speaking, infections are caused by bacteria. Bacteria exist all throughout our bodies, yet our immune system is able to control and regulate it. Because most joint replacements are made up of metal and plastic, it is very difficult for our immune systems to attack bacteria in implants, like they can in other areas of our bodies. The bacteria may even form a thin layer over the implant, acting like a shield which resists any antibiotics; this is why surgery may be required.

Certain factors increase the probability that someone will develop an infection. Having diabetes mellitus or immune deficiencies (such as HIV and lymphoma), receiving immunosuppressive treatments (such as chemotherapy or corticosteroids), being obese, and having peripheral vascular disease (poor circulation to the hands and feet) can all increase this probability.

Certain symptoms will most likely be present if a hip or knee implant is infected. They include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fevers
  • Chills and night sweats
  • Increased pain or stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Warmth and redness around the wound
  • Wound drainage

Contact an Experienced Attorney – Get a Free Case Evaluation

If you believe that you may have a joint infection, the earlier you take action the better. Early diagnosis and treatment will only increase the chances of a full recovery. If you have had a hip or knee surgery where this device was used and you are experiencing any symptoms of infection, you should contact your medical provider immediately.

With over three and a half decades of experience, the law firm of Rudolph F.X. Migliore, P.C. is positioned to help those who have been harmed by these devices. Our law firm works with nationally recognized associated firms to reach major verdicts and settlements. Call our New York office at (631) 543-3663 to arrange a no cost, no obligation consultation to find out how an attorney can help you.

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