Attorney with The Hale Law Firm Comments on Personal Injury Lawsuit Filed in Houston
Waxahachie, TX (Law Firm Newswire) August 9, 2013 - A civil lawsuit was filed by a Texas man claiming that a specialty blanket, the Bair Hugger, for use during surgery, caused a significant infection.
Tommy Walton, 70, underwent hip replacement surgery in 2011. During the surgical procedure, a blanket-like device that circulates warm air was placed on Mr. Walton to keep him warm. In a lawsuit filed in Houston earlier this year, Mr. Walton claims the blanket caused his need for 15 more surgeries, including the removal of an artificial hip. He is seeking more than $1 million in damages.
Though no class-action lawsuit has been certified regarding the Bair Hugger, if more individuals file suit, it could become a multi-district case. "If an individual has experienced any issues with the Bair Hugger or with an infection following surgery, they should explore their legal options," commented Waxahachie personal injury attorney John Hale.
The lawsuit claims the Bair Hugger device discharged air underneath the surgical table, which then picked up germs and recirculated dangerous air into his hip replacement device. The defendants include the company that makes the Bair Hugger, Arizant Healthcare, Inc., its parent company 3M and a sales representative for both 3M and Arizant, who is based in Texas. 3M purchased Arizant for $810 million in 2010.
A spokesman for 3M states that the company is "very confident" about the Bair Hugger's efficacy and safety. Bair Hugger manufactures gowns and blankets used in surgery – more than 22 million in 2012 alone. 3M has stated that there will be a full investigation of all the circumstances of Mr. Walton's case. A single-use Bair Hugger is often used in surgery, as it does not heat the whole operating room. It has been clinically shown that maintaining body temperature reduces the risk of surgical infection and other complications.
There have been other questions about the safety of the Bair Hugger. Its inventor, Dr. Scott Augustine, first brought the product to market in 1988. He left Arizant and is now promoting a competing surgical product, citing peer-reviewed studies which he says supports the link between an increase of deep joint infections due to the "contamination phenomenon" of the air flow issues with the Bair Hugger. However, Arizant Healthcare has argued that Augustine's criticisms of the Bair Hugger are baseless and due to a "personal vendetta."
The Hale Law Firm
100 Executive Court, Suite 3
Waxahachie, TX 75165
View Larger Map