Alleged defects in 3M surgical heater blamed for woman's injuries

By Robert Hadley | Dec 14, 2015

NEW ORLEANS – A Louisiana woman is suing 3M for injuries she allegedly suffered from the use of heating units during surgery.

Judith Chaix filed a lawsuit Dec. 4 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana against 3M Co. and Arizant Healthcare Inc., citing negligence misrepresentation, fraud and deceit, breach of express and implied warranty and other counts.

According to the complaint, 3M’s Bair Hugger forced-air heating pad was placed on Chaix's body during hip replacement surgery in 2009, allegedly contaminating the surgical wound and causing an infection. As a result of the product’s defective design, the suit says Chaix suffered severe, permanent injuries, including limited mobility.

A spokesperson for 3M provided this statement regarding the lawsuit:

"3M wants patients, surgeons and hospitals to know that there is absolutely no merit to these claims. In over 25 years and more than 200 million patients warmed successfully by 3M’s patient warming products, there is not a single confirmed incident of infection caused by the Bair Hugger system. 3M is sympathetic to patients who experience surgical site infections.

"There are many factors that are known to increase the risk of surgical site infections, some of which include having other medical problems or diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, being elderly or overweight , and smoking. There is absolutely no evidence that Bair Hugger warming therapy causes or increases the risk of surgical site infections. Patient warming is a recommended practice by leading health care institutions and professional societies  - and the Bair Hugger system is a safe, effective and efficient method of doing so. It is unfortunate that plaintiff attorneys are using bad science to blame their clients’ infections on a warming device that has helped millions of people during surgery."

Chaix seeks compensatory and punitive damages to be determined at a jury trial. She is represented by attorneys Michael Hingle, Bryan A. Pfleeger and Julie M. Jochum of Slidell.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana Case number 2:15-cv-06509

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