First approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1987, 3M’s Bair Hugger warming blankets are designed to keep surgical patients warm before, during and after major operations. By helping a patient maintain their core body temperature, the blanket is supposed to lead to better surgical outcomes. Unfortunately, recent evidence indicates that this product is unsafe.
In 2010, one of the lead inventors of the product, Dr. Scott D. Augustine, began sounding the alarm, according to a report in the New York Times, publicly stating that the Bair Hugger blanket was too dangerous to use in many situations.
In 2015, the FDA put out a safety alert, notifying the public that a likely link between Bair Hugger warming blankets and certain infections had been discovered. Additionally, as has been reported in 3M’s hometown newspaper, the Star Tribune, dozens of lawsuits have been filed against the company by patients who developed severe infections after they used the product.