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Jury sides with 3M in case involving patient-warming device

The Bair Hugger medical device has been in the news countless times in recent years. Its detractors claim that the commonly used patient-warming device manufactured by 3M Co. subsidiary Arizant was defective because it caused infections, particularly in surgeries involving hip replacement.

A case with national implications

According to the StarTribune, several thousand people are attempting to sue 3M, claiming the similar cases to that that of Louis Gareis' infection after his 2010 hip replacement surgery. In the first federal case to go to trial involving Bair Hugger, the jury in St. Paul, Minnesota, deliberated less than two hours before deciding the case after two weeks of testimony. Gareis and his legal team had been seeking $200,000. This is likely to be an important “bellwether” as other cases follow.

How Bair Hugger works

The surgical blanket keeps patients warm during surgery by blowing warm air through the disposable blankets that inflate. The argument of the claimant is that the device’s blower that sits on the floor disrupts the natural flow of air in the operating room and deposits particles near the surgical area that can carry bacterium that causes infections. The purpose of the blanket is to prevent hypothermia during surgery.

No proof to this point

The device was studied extensively by 300 doctors for the federal food and drug administration in 2013 and again in 2017. There is no established scientific proof that there is a connection between the infection and the device. It’s also important to note that the case hinges on the burden of proof by the claimant.

If a company is potentially involved in a case where a product is accused of causing injury, it critical to defend its interests. A corporate law and business law firm experienced in personal injury defense litigation can ensure that the matter is handled with the best interests of the company in mind.

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