Thousands of lawsuits filed across the U.S. are consolidated in multidistrict litigation in Minnesota federal court, as well as individual state courts, and trials are ongoing. According to sworn testimony and documents obtained through discovery, 3M has been aware of the safety concerns associated with forced-air warming technology for many years. Instead of warning doctors and medical facilities about the risks, 3M has aggressively marketed the device, which is now in wide use on hospitals and operating facilities through the U.S. Independent medical studies have also found that forced-air warming devices like the Bair Hugger increase the risk of serious infection during surgery.
Key developments in the litigation include:
2016: U.S. District Court Judge Joan Ericksen consolidated thousands of Bair Hugger injury lawsuits filed throughout the U.S. as part of multidistrict litigation to promote judicial efficiency.
August 2021: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed an earlier 2019 dismissal of the Bair Hugger litigation, finding that the trial court had wrongly excluded expert testimony from Bair Hugger plaintiffs. The court ruled that jurors should have been allowed to consider a 2011 study that found patients who were warmed with a forced-air device such as the Bair Hugger system were nearly four times likelier to develop an infection than patients who used a different device. The appellate court reversal allowed more than 5,000 cases in the MDL to go forward. The ruling also revived thousands of cases that had dismissed over expert testimony.
May 2022: The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear 3M’s appeal of the Eighth Circuit opinion. The ruling allows more than 5,000 lawsuits in the MDL to proceed toward trial but also revived thousands of additional lawsuits that had been dismissed over expert testimony.
With the victory at the Supreme Court, MDL bellwether trials are now proceeding.
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Infections that occur during surgery can cause serious medical complications, including septic arthritis. In some cases, a patient may need surgery to remove the implant and the infection. In rare cases, the infection can result in amputation.
If you have experienced medical complications after a surgical procedure in which a Bair Hugger blanket was used, you may be entitled to compensation.
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