Hundreds of lawsuits accuse medical device of causing serious infections

Image 1 of 5

“I wouldn’t want to see anybody go through what I did,” said Tommy Walton.

Walton says his first hip replacement surgery went off without a hitch.

“Turned out really well,” Walton said.

But his second hip replacement surgery turned into a five year ordeal he says he wouldn’t wish on anybody.

“I had some kind of infection I had never heard of,” Walton said. “And I’m not sure they had either.”

The infections caused Walton to spend a year and a half with only one hip, and endure 18 surgeries.

“They seemed to get that under control then I’d get some other kind of infection,” Walton said.

“As we allege in the lawsuit his condition was caused by the use of the Bair Hugger,” said attorney David Hodges.

Hodges is representing hundreds of clients who make the same claim as Walton.

The Bair Hugger patient warming system caused serious surgical site infections.

“Bair Hugger was originally designed to keep a patient warm to prevent infections,” Hodges said.

But the lawsuit alleges the warming unit stirs up contaminants on operating room floors and embeds them on what’s being implanted into the patient.

3M which makes the Bair hugger adamantly denies that and says there’s not a single confirmed incident of infection caused by their product.

“It can kill you absolutely if you get this type of infection because it’s so difficult to treat,” said Hodges.

“Oh I can’t even tell you how many people was in there working on him,” said Tommy Walton’s wife Wilma.

Wilma Walton says she thought she would be saying goodbye to her husband of 18 years.

“They told me he was dying,” she said.

“I just believed I was in God’s hands and he was going to take care of me,” Walton said.

3M tells us plaintiff attorneys are using bad science to blame their clients infections on a warming device that has helped millions of people during surgeries.

3M says the lawsuits all cite the same few studies but none of those studies provides credible scientific evidence that the Bair Hugger causes or contributes to surgical site infections.