Abstract

A healthy 40-year-old woman underwent a revision mammoplasty under general anesthesia. The anesthesiologist noted a decline in skin temperature from 37 to 35°C during the last hour of her four-hour general anesthetic and elected to place a Bair Hugger®hose under the patient’s cotton blankets at the level of the ankle. The hose of the Bair Hugger®was not connected to the blanket attachment device, however, and hot air at 40 to 43°C was blown directly on to the patient’s legs. In the recovery room, the patient complained of severe pain of her bilateral lower extremities. On further examination, the patient had sustained third-degree burns to the region of her calves on both extremities. Despite plastic surgery and skin grafting, severe permanent scarring occurred. The lawsuit against the anesthesiologist was settled for $250,000.

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