Lawsuit Updates and Timeline
The lawyers in the Bair Hugger cases have differing opinions on how the bellwether trials should proceed. The plaintiffs’ lawyers suggested remanding significant waves of cases for discovery and trial in several transferee courts. 3M disagreed, arguing that additional bellwether trials were warranted. However, it argued that the parties would need to carefully select sets of cases to ensure they are ready for trial by early 2023.
The lawsuits surrounding the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket are still ongoing, with thousands of patients having filed lawsuits against the manufacturer, 3M. Despite these lawsuits, the Bair Hugger is still being used in surgeries across the country. Patients who have undergone joint replacement procedures and other surgeries where the Bair Hugger was used may be at risk of developing an infection that could lead to long-term complications. This article aims to provide an overview of the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket lawsuits and to help patients understand their legal rights. If you or a loved one has undergone a surgery involving the Bair Hugger and have suffered an infection or other complication, it is essential to know your options.
As of March 17, 2023, with the rejection of the petition, 3M is expected to face thousands of infection lawsuits. If a settlement agreement isn’t reached, the court will decide whether to proceed with bellwether trials or to remand the cases to their original courts for trials, which plaintiffs requested.
As of June 1, 2022, the Supreme Court has rejected 3M’s appeal in the Bair Hugger warming blanket lawsuits. This comes after 3M and its subsidiary, Arizant Healthcare, filed a writ of certiorari petition with the Supreme Court in February 2022. The petition sought to have the Court evaluate whether the Court of Appeals’ ruling was too lenient in allowing plaintiffs’ expert witness testimony, arguing that the testimony was unreliable. However, the Supreme Court has upheld the Appeals Court’s decision.
In February 2022, U.S. District Judge Joan N. Ericksen appointed retired Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan to mediate the Bair Hugger lawsuits. The involved parties will correspond with Judge Boylan to schedule and attend mediation sessions he considers appropriate in these cases. This means that over 5,200 active lawsuits involving the Bair Hugger blanket may potentially settle.
On January 3, 2022, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the MDL judge overseeing the warming blanket lawsuits wrongly excluded testimony from medical experts supporting the plaintiffs’ claims. The Plaintiffs’ medical engineering expert opinions on causation could be derived from models and epidemiological that suggest a causal connection between infection and the Bair Hugger. This is a significant setback for 3M, who is also the defendant in the defective earplug lawsuit that is the biggest mass tort in U.S. history.
Background of Bair Hugger Warming Blanket
The Bair Hugger Warming Blanket is a medical device used to keep surgical patients warm. The device is used in nearly 90% of all major surgeries in the United States and has been effective in treating hypothermia and exposure. The Bair Hugger is a heater and blower connected by a flexible hose to a disposable blanket that is placed over the patient. The device blows hot air on the patient, allowing their body temperature to remain at a constant 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
The inventor of the Bair Hugger sold his stake in the company and the invention back in 2002, after a dispute with his board of directors. The company that bought the Bair Hugger became a subsidiary of 3M in 2010. In 2019, over 4,000 federal lawsuits were filed alleging that 3M knew that the design of the Bair Hugger increased the risk of joint infections, yet neglected to redesign the product. The biggest issue in these lawsuits is the failure to warn healthcare providers and patients about the risks of the Bair Hugger.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers contend that 3M knew about the risks of the Bair Hugger, at least since 2011. Despite this knowledge, there was never an attempt to redesign their product or warn surgeons of the risks. This is what these cases will ultimately be about. Maybe 3M should have fixed the Bair Hugger. Maybe it was not possible. But the key claim is that healthcare providers should have been warned about the true risks of the Bair Hugger, including that the Bair Hugger might be circulating contaminated air that could cause infections.
The Bair Hugger Warming Blanket Lawsuit
A total of 5,200 active lawsuits have been filed against 3M over the use of Bair Hugger warming blankets during surgical procedures. These lawsuits allege that the blankets caused deep joint infections, leaving many patients with long-term damages. In this section, we will delve into the latest updates regarding the Bair Hugger warming blanket lawsuit.
One significant update is the appointment of retired Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan as a mediator to mediate the Bair Hugger lawsuits. The parties involved will schedule and attend mediation sessions as per Judge Boylan’s guidance. The involvement of Judge Boylan in this lawsuit is a positive sign as it provides an opportunity for both parties to settle the cases without going to trial.
The lawyers for the plaintiffs and defendants have differing opinions on how the Bair Hugger bellwether trials should proceed. The plaintiffs’ lawyers suggest that the parties and the court should plan to remand significant waves of cases for discovery and trial in several transferee courts. In contrast, 3M disagrees, arguing that remanding these cases would be “premature.” The company indicates that additional bellwether trials are “warranted” but that the parties need to select sets of cases carefully to ensure they are ready for trial by early 2023.
What You Need to Know About Deep Joint Infections
Joint replacement surgeries are common, and they can improve the lives of millions of people. However, if the procedure is not done correctly or if the patient develops an infection during or after surgery, it can have devastating consequences. One of the most common complications of joint replacement surgeries is deep joint infections. These infections can be caused by a variety of factors, including bacteria that enter the surgical wound during surgery.
When it comes to problems caused by the Bair Hugger warming blanket, the most common type of injury seen by lawyers is a deep joint infection. This type of infection can occur when bacteria enter the patient’s body and infect one or more of their joints, such as the knee, hip, or shoulder. Deep joint infections can be extremely painful and can cause long-term damage to the affected joint.
If you have undergone joint replacement surgery and experienced any of the symptoms of deep joint infection, it is crucial to speak with an attorney. Some of the key signs of infection in these cases include fatigue, fever, pain, stiffness, swelling, redness around the incision, and wound drainage. If you have experienced these side effects and required revision surgery, discussing your case with an attorney is necessary. The right attorney can help you navigate the legal system, get the compensation you deserve, and hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
Related Article: What is a Deep Joint Infection (DJI)?
What To Do If You Have Been Affected by the Bair Hugger Lawsuit
If you or someone you know has been affected by the Bair Hugger warming blanket and has suffered from a deep joint infection after a hip or knee replacement surgery, it is important to seek legal representation. While compensation cannot undo the harm caused by the infection, it can provide a sense of justice and financial relief to help cope with the damages.
It is important to find an experienced attorney who has knowledge of product liability cases, particularly those involving medical devices. A lawyer with experience in Bair Hugger lawsuits can help guide you through the legal process, explain your legal options, and answer any questions you may have.
In addition to seeking legal representation, it is important to keep all medical records and documentation related to the infection, including any correspondence with the medical staff, insurance companies, and manufacturers. This will help your legal team build a strong case and maximize your chances of receiving fair compensation for your damages.
Common Questions about the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket Lawsuit
What are the most common injuries caused by the Bair Hugger?
The most common injury caused by the Bair Hugger is a deep joint infection. The device may introduce contaminants into the surgical site, leading to an infection that can cause serious complications for the patient.
What is the “Reservoir of Infection” theory?
The “Reservoir of Infection” theory suggests that the forced-air warming system used by the Bair Hugger may circulate contaminants from the operating room floor and deposit them onto the surgical site, increasing the risk of infection.
How can I tell if I have a deep joint infection?
Symptoms of a deep joint infection may include fever, chills, redness, swelling, warmth, and stiffness in the joint. If you have experienced any of these symptoms after surgery, you should seek medical attention immediately.
How much does it cost to file a lawsuit?
The cost to file a Bair Hugger lawsuit will vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case. Many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you will only pay legal fees if you receive a settlement or win your case in court.
Is the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket still being used?
Yes, the Bair Hugger Warming Blanket is still being used in many hospitals and surgical centers. However, some medical facilities have switched to alternative warming devices in light of the controversy surrounding the Bair Hugger.
Who can file a lawsuit against the manufacturers?
Individuals who have been injured by the Bair Hugger warming blanket, as well as the family members of patients who have died as a result of complications from the device, may be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturers, 3M and Arizant Healthcare.
What is the statute of limitations for filing a Bair Hugger lawsuit?
The statute of limitations for filing a Bair Hugger lawsuit will vary depending on the state in which the injury occurred. It is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine the specific time limit for filing a claim in your state.
How long does it take to receive compensation for a Bair Hugger lawsuit?
The amount of time it takes to receive compensation for a Bair Hugger lawsuit will depend on the specific details of your case. Some cases may settle quickly, while others may take longer to resolve. Your attorney can provide more information about what to expect in your case.