A federal appeals court has reinstated more than 6,000 Bair Hugger infection lawsuits against 3M that allege the warming system results in severe infections among the users.
The attorneys for the plaintiffs claim that two theories highlight the scope of infection, namely “airflow disruption” and "dirty machine.” As per the "airflow disruption," the current created by the Bair Hugger's heat carries ambient bacteria, which causes infection. The "dirty machine” theory claims that the Bair Hugger is internally contaminated with bacteria, making it more unhealthy for the users.
The MDL court even rejected the claims from an epidemiologist and an orthopedic surgeon, as their studies and opinions were misguiding and lacked reliability. It even denied the model presented by an engineering expert that claimed the bacteria infected the patient.
As per the court documents, plaintiffs alleged that the Bair Hugger system caused infections. The lawsuits were centralized in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, which were later dismissed in 2019.
The device has a portable heater/blower that is connected to the blanket. It blows the heated air in the blanket and keeps the patient warm.
3M also faces 230,000 product liability lawsuits against its combat arms earplugs, alleging that the defective design of the products has resulted in severe hearing loss, tinnitus, and other major ear problems among the U.S. service members.