A medical device is used by doctors and other medical staff to improve a person’s health. One such device, called Bair Hugger, has recently been the subject of multiple lawsuits. Bair Hugger is a warming blanket developed by an American surgeon. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the product in the 1980s.
The objective of the warming blanket, which is heated with forced air, is to keep patients warm during surgery. The forced air comes from a heater close to the operating room floor.
The blanket is now used in approximately 90 percent of surgical procedures in America. The product has been associated with miscellaneous health and safety hazards and has been the subject of recent legal cases.
What Is Wrong With Bair Hugger?
According to plaintiffs who have filed a Bair Hugger lawsuit, the main problem with Bair Hugger is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus (MRSA), a type of bacteria. Plaintiffs allege that the warming blanket transfers MRSA from the floor to the surgical site.
This has led them to suffer further damages such as pain and suffering and additional medical bills because they developed MRSA during surgery due to contact with the blanket.
In particular, patients reported miscellaneous infection incidents after surgeries where a Bair Hugger warming blanket was used. The infections were often deep in the joints after hip or knee replacement surgeries. Other health problems include:
- Skin disease or infection
- Infections of the bloodstream
- Sepsis (a response to infection; can be life-threatening)
Bair Hugger blanket infections may lead to:
- Further medical procedures or surgeries
- Further hospitalization time
- Amputation of limbs
- In some circumstances, fatalities
Is the Warming Blanket Considered a Defective Product?
Legal claims can often be brought if a product is defective. A defective product causes injury to an individual because of:
- Erroneous warning
- Flawed design
- Deficient manufacturing
A defective product lawsuit involves showing:
- The warming blanket had a defect such as causing MRSA to enter a patient’s body during surgery
- The defect caused an injury while the warming blanket was being used as intended by the manufacturer
- The warming blanket had not been changed in terms of the way it should operate after it was sold
A defective product can often lead to compensatory damages, which will cover hospital statements, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
In some circumstances, the defendant (usually the product manufacturer) may try to raise a defense against the legal claims.
Standard defenses to a defective product lawsuit involve:
- Assumption of the risk
- Contributory negligence
- Substantial change defense
- Comparative fault
- Statute of limitations
Physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals can also be liable for damages. For instance, a physician might be held responsible for malpractice if they use a Bair Hugger blanket or other medical devices that have already been deemed unsafe or that they know are defective.
When Are You Awarded Compensatory Damages?
As stated above, compensatory damages are normally awarded to restore the injured individual or party (the “plaintiff”) to their position before the harm or loss occurred. Therefore, compensatory damages are awarded in cases where damages, injury, or loss have transpired.
Generally speaking, there are two primary compensatory damage awards:
Special damages are intended to restore the injured party to their position before the harm or injury occurs. This generally includes damages that can be estimated, such as medical expenses, property damage, loss of wages or earnings, and other quantifiable losses.
General damages may be awarded for losses not readily determined through economic calculations. These can include losses connected with emotional distress, defamation, or loss of consortium or companionship.
State regulations may differ concerning compensatory damages. Some states may place limitations on compensatory damages, especially general damages.
What Do I Need to Prove to Get Compensatory Damages?
To receive compensatory damages, the plaintiff must demonstrate several aspects of their claim. In most circumstances, they will be required to demonstrate that a loss has occurred and was caused by the other party (the defendant). They must demonstrate that the defendant’s conduct caused the loss or injury.
In most circumstances, the loss will usually be driven by some negligence on the defendant’s part.
To establish your claim, you will want to maintain and collect mixed forms of evidence that can be used in court to support your case. These may include:
- Statements from witnesses;
- Pictures or videotape connected with the accident or incident;
- Miscellaneous documents, such as medical bills or police records;
- Physical evidence;
- Any item or evidence that can help the court to estimate your damages.
How Are Compensatory Damages Calculated?
When computing compensatory damages, courts will generally consider various factors related to the case. These can include:
- The background of the victim, such as their age;
- The type of injury as well as the extent of the injury;
- Expenses associated with treating or rehabilitating the plaintiff;
- Any differences or losses in the victim’s ability to earn a wage before and after the incident;
- Actual losses of income;
- Whether any property damage resulted from the accident; and
- Any other effects on the victim’s quality of life.
There may be circumstances where a plaintiff’s damages award may be decreased or restricted. For example, if the plaintiff somehow contributed to their injury, it can impact the number of damages they can collect under contributory negligence regulations.
Injured by a Drug or Medical Device
If a drug or a medical device injures you, you should first figure out who is accountable for the injury. Several people could be liable, from the manufacturer of the drug or device to the physician who prescribed it to the pharmacist who sold it to you. Each of these people has obligations toward you under the law.
Manufacturers of both prescription drugs and medical devices have two primary duties. They have to:
Research and understand the side effects, dangers, and risks of using the drug or device
Inform the public of the side effects, hazards, and dangers associated with the drug or device
If the manufacturer fails at either of these duties, they can be liable. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluates drugs that manufacturers want to put on the market. FDA approval alone, nevertheless, does not mean that the drug is safe. Nor does it relieve a drug manufacturer from liability if the drug is later found to be unsafe.
I Know Who May Be Responsible for My Injury – What Should I Do Now?
Suing the answerable party is the only way to recover damages for your injury caused by defective drugs or medical devices.
If a manufacturer is liable, you should file a product liability lawsuit against them.
If a physician is liable, you should file a medical malpractice lawsuit against them.
If the pharmacist is liable, you can file a negligence lawsuit for your injuries against the pharmacist and the pharmacy.
Should I Contact an Attorney If a Bair Hugger Warming Blanket Injured Me?
To understand more about your rights to file a lawsuit or become a part of a class-action lawsuit, contact a local personal injury attorney. An attorney can represent you in court and provide legal guidance for your case. Use LegalMatch today.