The controversy over the Bair Hugger surgical warming blankets has escalated beyond expectations. When the federal court initially accepted the case as a multi-district litigation case, there were just over a dozen cases. Now, just one year later, there are nearly 900 cases claiming the Bair Hugger caused surgical site infections. Currently, the parties and the court are working on figuring out which cases will be tried as representative (Bellweather) cases.
Basically, the way the device works has been called into question, despite it being widely accepted throughout the medical industry. The surgical warming blanket system works by essentially forcing warm air into sterile disposable blankets that are placed on a patient's body.
The lawsuits claim that the part of the device that forces the air into the blankets can be easily contaminated, because it sits on the floor, thereby increasing the risk of infection by circulating contamination from the floor into the warming blankets that rest directly on a patient's skin.