Dozens of plaintiffs drop claims before key deadline
Dozens of plaintiffs are dropping their lawsuits against 3M™ and its Bair Hugger™ warming device in advance of a deadline that requires them to provide facts about their claims.
To date, 50 plaintiffs with claims in the federal MDL have voluntarily asked to dismiss their cases.
Throughout the prolonged smear campaign against its Bair Hugger system, 3M has been adamant that:
- There is no evidence linking the Bair Hugger device to surgical site infections.
- To the contrary, there is ample evidence that the Bair Hugger system reduces the risk of such infections.
The latest batch of dismissals came as plaintiffs and their attorneys faced a late December deadline to provide a host of facts about their claimed injury. The Minnesota federal court overseeing the multi-district litigation required plaintiffs with cases pending as of late September 2016 to complete a 22-page Plaintiff Fact Sheet by December 26. The fact sheet required plaintiffs to provide:
- Basic personal information
- Facts about their surgery
- General medical/health information
- Insurance coverage
- Any possible economic and other damages
Given the absence of any proof that the Bair Hugger device causes surgical site infections, it is not surprising that many plaintiffs and their lawyers decided to drop their cases.
None of the lawsuits against 3M provides any proof that the plaintiffs’ surgical site infections are connected to the Bair Hugger device. Instead, all of the lawsuits rely on the same six studies touted by a 3M competitor who has waged a misinformation campaign about the warming system.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers have embraced the claims of that competitor – Dr. Scott Augustine -- even though the authors of studies touted by Augustine all explicitly acknowledge that their studies do not establish that the Bair Hugger system causes surgical site infections.
That has not stopped plaintiffs lawyers from aggressively soliciting people who contracted infections after surgery, and convincing them that their infections may be linked to the Bair Hugger device.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control notes that any surgery that causes a break in the skin can lead to a post-operative infection. About one of every 100 patients undergoing a joint arthroplasty, for example, develops an infection after surgery. The CDC also notes that the majority of surgical site infections come from bacteria in the patient’s own body.
Many factors are known to increase the risk of surgical site infections, including having other medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, being elderly or overweight, and smoking.
3M is confident the science will show that there is no evidence the Bair Hugger warming device causes surgical site infections.