There are currently more than 4,000 pending federal lawsuits related to infections caused by Bair Hugger surgical warming blankets. The blankets, manufactured by Minnesota-based 3M, are used during surgery to prevent hypothermia. Each unit includes a warming unit that pumps air through a hose, filling a blanket which covers the patient.
These lawsuits allege that the Bair Hugger device causes orthopedic joint infections during surgery due to the air currents it creates, which have been shown to spread dirt, dust, and bacteria from the floor of the operating room to the site of the surgery, where sanitary conditions are critically important.
Due to the number and complexity of the lawsuits filed, they’ve been consolidated as multidistrict litigation (MDL) so that they can be managed by a single court.
Attorney Kyle Farrar, of Houston firm Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball, was recently named as co-lead counsel in the Bair Hugger bellwether trials taking place in Minneapolis. Farrar has extensive experience in multidistrict litigation such as this, as well as product liability cases involving medical devices. In this position, Farrar will have considerable influence in devising the strategy pursued by the legal team.
The result of the first bellwether trial is currently being appealed as the legal team prepares for a number of others due to go to trial soon.