The Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming System by 3M has been connected to increased risk of serious infections during surgical operations. The device blows warm air over patients and is meant to avoid hypothermia and improve recovery times, but blowing air during surgery moves bacteria from the surgical theater and different parts of the body into open surgical wounds which can cause serious, life-threatening infections and jeopardize the success of the operation.
Andrews & Thornton has been working to hold 3M liable for this defective device for nearly 5 years. Anne Andrews was appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in MDL 2666 where all Bair Hugger cases have been consolidated. The PEC is responsible for guiding plaintiffs’ efforts in the entire litigation, including developing experts and selecting cases to go through test trials called bellwethers.
Anne Andrews and John Thornton developed expert testimony to show with scientific certainty how air moved around the operating theater using a computational fluid dynamics model. This expert testimony was the only plaintiffs’ expert admitted by the judge. Unfortunately, the Bair Hugger cases were put into peril when Judge Ericksen who oversaw the MDL excluded all other expert witnesses for the plaintiffs.
After three years of delays, the Eighth Circuit has overturned Judge Ericksen’s decision to exclude the other plaintiffs’ experts, breathing new life into the litigation. Anne Andrews will continue her PEC role to move bellwether cases to trial and seek global resolution for the thousands of victims injured by Bair Hugger devices.