You may already know that hospital operating rooms are designed to allow bacteria to fall onto the floor and away from the patient during surgeries. But did you know that keeping patients warm during hip or knee replacement surgery allow for a better recovery? What do these two things have in common?
Keeping patients warm during surgery requires a device such as the Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming System, which blows warm air under a blanket. The warm air circulates over and around the patient, which would not be a problem if it weren’t for air currents.
As you would expect, all operating rooms are designed to allow bacteria to fall to the floor during surgery. The problem is that warm air rises. Much like the physics involved in making a hot air balloon rise, the warm air in the operating room causes air from the floor to rise up and onto the patient. Imagine being on the operating table and having warm air laden with bacteria circulated over you while you have an open incision. This is how the risk for infections have increased and why the Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming System is being investigated.
Patients who were operated on while a Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming System was used have developed infections that caused prolonged hospital stays and required additional medical care from doctors and nurses. The most severe outcome of having a deep joint infection is death, which can easily happen if the infection isn’t treated and prolonged hospital stays are necessary.
Studies have shown that operating rooms that used the Bair Hugger System could cause infections and even the inventor of Bair Hugger products claimed the warming system was faulty. At this time, patients that developed infections while using the system have filed lawsuits against the manufacturer to recover money for medical bills, pain and suffering and lost wages. Some patients have required many surgeries and their medical bills are astronomical and their hospital stays are lengthy. You may ask why, and the answer is in the joints where the infections typically are found.
Joint infections are by far the most serious infections. This is because there is little to no blood flow into the space between the joints. Since there is no blood flow, surgery is the only way to treat most joint infections for hip and knee replacement patients. Some patients have required many surgeries to treat infections brought on by the Bair Hugger Warming System and have serious, long-term or even permanent complications.
Many lawsuits have already been filed against the manufacturer and those lawsuits allege that the company knew about the risk, but failed to warn doctors, hospital staff and patients.
If you or a loved one developed a serious infection after 60 days of having knee or hip replacement surgery, get in touch with us immediately and remember that we provide a free consultation to determine if you have a case against the manufacturer. If you do have a case, you do not pay us unless we win your case. There are time limits with these types of cases and if you wait, you could miss out.
Justin is an attorney at Roberts & Roberts and focuses his practice on mass tort litigation, where he specializes in helping individuals who are harmed by recalled or unsafe pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices. He has earned recognition as a “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers. Prior to joining Roberts & Roberts, Justin served as an attorney in all three branches of Texas’s state government, including as a Briefing Attorney on the Texas Supreme Court. He also represented electric and natural gas utilities in complex regulatory proceedings before the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Railroad Commission of Texas. Justin is a published author in the St. Mary’s Law Journal.