Hundreds of hip and knee replacement infection lawsuits involving the 3M Bair Hugger forced air warming blanket continue to move forward in the centralized litigation now underway in Bair Hugger MDL 2666 in U.S. District Court in Minnesota.
Judge Joan N. Ericksen issued two new Pretrial Orders on May 24 :
- Pretrial Order No. 9: Establishing Common Benefit Fee and Expense Funds. With Exhibit A (Participation Agreement) and Exhibit B (Time Report and Expense Forms).
- Pretrial Order No. 8: Master Long and Short Form Complaints and Jury Demand. With Exhibit A (Master Long Form Complaint) and Exhibit B (Short Form Complaint).
“All three of these orders will facilitate the efficient progress of this litigation. We are currently investigating a number of forced air warmer lawsuits involving the Bair Hugger, and are pleased to see that the federal litigation is moving forward,” says Sandy A. Liebhard, a partner at Bernstein Liebhard LLP, a law firm in New York.
217 lawsuits pending
The 3M Bair Hugger is used during surgical procedures to regulate a patient’s body temperature. Court documents indicate that at least 217 Bair Hugger lawsuits are now pending in the District of Minnesota, all of which were filed on behalf of hip and knee replacement patients who allegedly developed serious post-operative deep joint infections due to the use of the forced air warming blanket during their surgery.
Plaintiffs contend that the Bair Hugger suffers from a design defect that allows contaminated air from the operating room floor to come into contact with the surgical site, greatly increasing the risk that hip and knee replacement patients will develop dangerous and debilitating infections at the site of their implant. They further claim that the 3M Company and its Arizant Healthcare, Inc. subsidiary have been aware of this problem for years, but concealed the issue from regulators, patients and the medical community. Rather than alter the design of the Bair Hugger to correct this alleged defect, the lawsuits charge that the companies continue to aggressively and misleadingly market the forced air warming system as safe for use in orthopedic surgery.