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Veteran blames defective medical device for leg amputation

Antibacterial soap, hand sanitizers and sanitizing processes are all key players in keeping hospitals safe for patients. Whether immunocompromised or recovering from surgeries, California patients require clean, sanitary conditions in order to have the best possible recoveries. Unfortunately, one Vietnam War veteran claims that he was unable to properly recover because of a defective medical device.

After dedicating much of his life to the service of others, first in the military and then as a police officer, the patient required a total replacement of his left knee joint. In June 2007, he underwent surgery to have the joint replaced. While still recovery from surgery in the hospital, staff used a Bair Hugger blanket to help keep him comfortable and warm.

The Bair Hugger blanket is connected to a hose that then blows hot air under the blanket and onto the patient. While it might be effective at keeping people warm, the victim claims that the blanket blew more than just hot air. In his medical malpractice suit, he claims that the special blanket used by hospitals can also blow dangerous contaminants, putting patients who are recovering from surgery at risk. His own surgical wound ended up infected with an MRSA infection that ultimately led to the amputation of his knee. Before it was amputated, he had to undergo a total of six additional surgeries.

Devices used in medical settings must adhere to high standards that protect patients and promote recovery. A defective medical device that can expose California patients to harmful bacteria or that cannot be properly sanitized should never be used, especially when manufacturers know of defects, as this victim claims the makers of the Bair Hugger did. When manufacturers directly ignore the needs and safety of the patients and consumers they serve, they can be held accountable through the civil court system and the filing of successful products liability suits.

Source:, "Veteran alleges 3M's defective device led to amputation of leg", Hoang Tran, March 9, 2016

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