Jurors sided with 3M in the first bellwether trial involving Bair Hugger warming blankets at the end of last month.

The two-week trial reached a consensus that Bair Hugger devices are not responsible for the growth of bacteria in a patient who underwent surgery.

Bair Hugger warming devices help regulate a patient’s body on the operating table by blowing warm air into an inflatable blanket. Though the air never touches the blanket, at least four studies have suggested the device is responsible for spreading bacteria.

Operating room floors are clean but that does not mean they are sterile. Researchers suggest Bair Hugger “lifts” germs from the floor which are then deposited near the body with the Bair Hugger device. This can lead to infection of open wounds amongst what should be a safe and clean environment.

Louis Gareis promised there would be an appeal after hearing the jury’s decision. He is currently seeking $200,000 in damages.

Gareis developed a severe infection after undergoing a hip replacement surgery on two different occasions. He claims the Bair Hugger device used both times were responsible for the infection which left him in severe pain. His wife was concerned the infection was going to spread throughout his body and he wasn’t going to pull through.

Bair Hugger devices are used in four out of five hospitals around the country. 3M denies that their product, involved in over 200 million surgeries since 1987, is responsible for spreading infection.

The company released a statement saying the device, “has been proven to be a safe and effective way to warm patients during surgery.”

The outcome of this trial could affect the other 4,400 pending Bair Hugger lawsuits against the manufacturer. Knee and hip surgeries are already susceptible to infection so the burden of proof is very high in these cases.

The susceptibility stems from the chance that a single bacterium can cause what’s known as a biofilm on the implant. Should this occur, the patient may need to undergo another surgery to remedy the site.

Gareis’ case is similar to Tim Hopkins, who underwent a knee replacement surgery in which a Bair Hugger device was used. The difference is Gareis didn’t lose his leg. Hopkins developed a deep joint infection in 2016 following his surgery. The infection progressed so rapidly that his right leg had to be amputated.

Hopkins is one of the thousands of lawsuits against 3M for manufacturing a device that promotes the growth of bacteria.

The Bair Hugger cases have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Minnesota. The outcome of this bellwether will determine the course of action for the other cases in the queue against 3M.

The next Bear Hugger MDL has been ordered to take place in December 2018.