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How do warming blowers used during surgery cause infection?

Surgical suites are designed to be clean rooms that minimize the risk of infections developing in a patient’s surgery site. Builders create these rooms with a great deal of modern technology. Ventilation systems are an important part of this technology because they direct the flow of air and any bacteria it contains away from the patient’s open surgical site.

Even though the members of a surgical team wear gowns, caps, masks and shoe covers, they still shed tiny bits of skin tissue, known as squames. Ventilation systems force the air in an operating room down and away from the patient. However, warming blowers can interfere with the ventilation and expose patients undergoing surgery to bacteria-laden squames, which the surgical team has shed.

While it is crucial to keep the patient warm during surgery, these warming blowers affect the air flow in such a way that a surgical site infection (SSI) can develop when skin tissues invade the open incision. The blowers are not actually defective, but the fact that they can lead to dangerous infection puts them in the realm of defective medical devices. This is so because designers and manufacturers have a duty to avoid creating products that can harm patients.

Unfortunately, an SSI can be life threatening if left untreated. Anyone can develop such an infection, even those undergoing surgery. If you or someone you love is scheduled for surgery, ask about the hospital’s use of warming blowers and what steps it takes to prevent an associated infection. If you have already suffered such an infection, consider asking a personal injury lawyer if you have grounds to file a defective medical device lawsuit.


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