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Warming Blanket Lawsuit

Abbott Law Group, P.A. > Warming Blanket Lawsuit

Surgical Warming Blanket Heater/Cooler System Class Action Lawsuit

Forced air surgical warming blankets and heater-cooler systems are used to keep anesthetized patients warm before, during, and after surgeries.    These devices have been used and continue to be used on millions of Americans.  Nevertheless, some research demonstrates that forced-air warming blankets and heater-cooler devices can possibly spread airborne contaminants, in turn, causing a higher risk of contaminating surgical sites and causing post-surgical infections.  Infections in patients who recently had surgery can lead to further hospitalization, permanent disability, further surgeries, amputations, and even death.


Currently, some of the patients who experienced serious medical complications as a result of a forced air surgical warming blankets and heater-cooler devices are filing lawsuits against the manufacturers.  These patients allege that the manufacturers knew about the increased risk of infections and other serious injuries from the use of the forced-air warming blankets and heater-cooler devices during surgery, but failed to make necessary changes to the device to make it safer for patients.  The lawyers of Abbott Law Group are currently reviewing cases on behalf of individuals who experienced medical complications where these devices were used.

What is a Forced Air Surgical Warming Blanket?

Forced air, surgical warming blankets, work by filtering air and then forcing warmed air from the unit through a hose into a disposable blanket that covers the patient.  When working properly, the unit forces warm air evenly throughout the disposable blanket to prevent excessive heat on one area of the patient’s body..  When the warm air is forced into the blanket, the air is released under the surgical table causing the possibility of an increased spread in bacteria and germs throughout the operating room, and, in turn, increasing the risk of infection after surgery.  Forced-air warming blankets attempt to reduce the risk of spreading infections through its disposable, one-time use design.


Forced air surgical warming blankets are used for the purposes of maintaining a patient’s body temperature during surgery; however, these blankets can also be used before and after the surgery.  Maintaining a patient’s body temperature during surgery is vital to prevent hypothermia during anesthetization. Hypothermia is a condition where the body loses heat faster than it can produce heat.  This condition can lead to additional blood loss as well as preventable infections making it vital to maintain the patient’s body temperature.  Forced-air warming blankets can help to speed up patient recovery time after surgery, reducing hospital stays, as well as other benefits.  While forced-air warming blankets may come with several benefits, healthcare professionals and patients alike must weigh these benefits with the risks that come with its use.  Contact the lawyers of Abbott Law Group today if you experienced joint infection after surgery.

Side Effects & Risks of Using Forced Air Surgical Warming Blankets

Despite the many benefits of using a forced-air warming blanket, some doctors and other healthcare experts are troubled by new studies that show a possible link between these blankets and deep joint infections after surgery.  In fact, some healthcare professionals are now looking for new ways to maintain patients’ body temperatures during surgery to prevent the following:

  • Infection after knee surgery;
  • Infection after knee implant;
  • Infection after hip surgery;
  • Infection after hip implant; and
  • Infection after artificial heart valve surgery.

A study conducted in 2011 indicated a possible, significant increased risk of deep joint infection when using forced-air warming blankets.  While the body’s immune system can naturally respond and eradicate most infections effectively, fighting deep joint infections can be more difficult.  Additionally, when the infection attaches itself to a knee or hip after an implant surgery, it can be especially difficult for the body’s immune system to eradicate the infection.  Once the infection reaches an implant, it can multiply and spread much more easily.

Often times, patients with infections after surgery, whose immune systems cannot naturally fight off infections, are treated using:

  • Additional surgeries, including removal and revision surgeries,
  • Long-term antibiotics,
  • Amputation, and
  • Joint fusion.

Horror stories exist of patients that were required to undergo additional operations as a result of an infection after surgery where a forced-air warming blanket was used.  One plaintiff, who filed a lawsuit against a warming blanket manufacturer, claimed that after developing a deep joint infection, he had to undergo 15 additional operations to rid his body of the infection.  Another individual, who filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer, claiming that he developed Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as the MRSA infection, after having surgery in which the blanket and the warming unit kicked up bacteria from the floor.

Signs of Deep Joint Infections due to Forced Air Warming Blankets

Signs of a deep join infection due to a surgical warming blanket

When a deep joint infection after surgery is suspected, it is critical that the patient’s infection be treated as quickly as possible.  If you experience any of the keys symptoms or side effects of an infected hip implant or an infected knee implant, contact a doctor immediately.

Some symptoms of infection include:

  • Fever,
  • Chills,
  • Night sweats,
  • Fatigue,
  • Swelling in the joint area
  • Increased pain in the joint area,
  • Increased stiffness in the joint area,
  • Warmth and redness around the area recently operated on, and
  • Wound drainage.

If  you experience any of the symptoms listed above after having knee or hip replacement surgery, and a forced-air warming blanket was used, first contact a doctor and then contact the hip and knee surgery infection lawyers of Abbott Law Group to discuss your legal options.

 Current Surgical Warming Blanket Lawsuits

While the FDA has not issued any safety warnings or recalls of warming blankets, there are still a growing number of lawsuits being filed against variousmanufacturers..  The plaintiffs point to several scientific studies that suggest the use of a forced-air warming blanket can disrupt the laminar flow of the operating room, allowing bacteria and other contaminants to linger in the air around the surgical site.  These studies claim that the high amount of bacteria and other contaminants in the air near the wound result in much higher rates of knee or hip infections following the surgery.


The plaintiffs in these forced air surgical warming blanket lawsuits allege that the manufacturers of these devices, knew about the increased risk of deep joint infection after knee and hip replacement surgeries, yet failed to take necessary actions to make the blanket safer for patients.  The plaintiffs suggest that the manufacturers should have redesigned the blanket to make it safer.  In addition, the plaintiffs claim that the manufacturers had a duty to warn patients and doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals of the risks associated with the forced-air warming blanket, but failed in this duty.  The lawsuit against the makers of the warming blankets also allege that the manufacturers attempted to hide and discredit the scientific studies showing a link between use of the blanket during surgery and deep joint infections.

Forced-Air Warming Blanket/Heater-cooler Class Action Lawyers

The warming blanket infection lawyers of Abbott Law Group provide free confidential consultations and claim evaluations to help individuals determine first whether the warming blanket was used during their surgery, and, second, to evaluate what legal recourse they may have.  If, after this initial consultation, an individual decides to hire Abbott Law Group, the claim is handled on a contingency fee basis.  This means that there are never any out-of-pocket expenses to the client, and our attorneys only receive fees and expenses if they are successful in obtaining a settlement for the client.


If you developed a deep joint infection after knee or hip replacement surgery in which a forced-air warming blanket was used, you may be entitled to compensation for past and future medical expenses, disability, pain and suffering, and lost wages.  If you lost a loved one due to an infection after knee or hip replacement surgery, you may be entitled to the same types of compensation as well as loss of consortium and funeral expenses.  If you believe that you were injured due to the use of a forced-air warming blanket, you should contact the attorneys of Abbott Law Group immediately as the Statute of Limitations bars lawsuits that are not brought within a specified time period.  Once the Statute of Limitations has run, the injured party is completely stripped of his or her right to bring a lawsuit against the party they believe to be responsible.


If you or a loved one underwent surgery and subsequently suffered from a serious infection, contact the attorneys of Abbott Law Group today to discuss your legal options.