Keeping patients warm during surgery has been a common practice for decades. Introduced in 1988, the Bair Hugger blanket is a device used during surgery that supplies warm air to the patient’s body to prevent and treat hypothermia. Bair Hugger works like a heater, pushing warm air – forced air warming (FAW) – through a flexible hose into a blanket draped over a patient.
To work as intended, the device discharges warm air over a patient’s body, but also releases air under the surgical table. The air discharged under the table can cause germs and bacteria to become dispersed and recirculated, landing on a patient’s surgical site. The procedure of recirculating contaminated air over an open surgical wound can result in an infection in the patient’s hip or knee.
3M, the manufacturer of Bair Hugger failed to announce the risk of serious infection with the use of this product. These infections often require additional surgeries and considerable rehabilitation. As the best-selling surgical warming device found in four out of every five hospitals, the number of lawsuits nationwide against Bair Hugger are continually rising.