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Is the Bair Hugger Device a Danger for Patients?

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP

By: Indhira Benitez

As recently reported, Minnesota anesthesiologist, Dr. Scott Augustine, has been campaigning to remove the device he helped create off of the market. The “Bair Hugger,” which served as an artificial heating source, is now presenting more issues for Dr. Augustine and the Bair Hugger’s financial stakeholders.

Dr. Augustine no longer holds a financial stake in the Bair Hugger. After a long running feud between he and the company that sells the device, Arizant, Dr. Augustine resigned in 2002 as chairman and chief executive of the company, which used to be known as Augustine Medical, after a dispute with other board members, court papers show. Arizant was acquired by 3Mfor $810 million. Dr. Augustine has campaigned against the Bair Hugger in several forms. He has spoken out against the device at professional medical meetings and has funded studies intended to show that it may pose a bacterial threat.

The issue with Dr. Augustine’s assertions is that he has not provided any clear evidence to back up his assertions. Despite this fact, Dr. Augustine has not stopped campaigning against the device and the danger it poses to patients undergoing surgeries. If in fact there are issues with the device, 3M could face serious legal consequences for keeping the Bair Hugger on the market.

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