Two DePuy hip systems the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System -- have become the subject of hundreds of product liability lawsuits. These are both "metal on metal" hip implant systems, whose design has been blamed for injuries ranging from dislocated and broken hips, to heart, nerve, kidney and thyroid problems. Those who suffer an adverse reaction must go through additional surgery to take out and replace the implant, not to mention pain, suffering and lost wages which they may have experienced in the process.
Metal on Metal Hip Replacements
Metal on metal hip implant systems feature a metal ball which fits into a metal cup or socket. As a person walks or moves, the ball moves within the cup, like a natural hip ball joint moving within its socket.
In addition to the general risks posed by all hip implant systems, metal on metal implant systems pose some particular risks. These stem from the fact that during the walking motion, the metal ball slides against the metal socket. When this happens, tiny metal particles wear off the ball and/or the socket. This metal debris is released into the space surrounding the hip implant, and some of it may even enter the persons blood stream.
According to the FDA, there is no way to avoid the shedding of these metal particles, despite the fact that orthopedic surgeons can take precautions to minimize the rubbing of the metal ball against the socket, and thus minimize the shedding off of metal particles.
Metal on Metal Hip Implant Injuries
Those who do suffer an adverse reaction suffer what is called and adverse local tissue reaction (sometimes called an "adverse reaction to metal debris"). In these cases, over time, the metal particles which wear off the implanted ball and socket cause damage to tissue and bone surrounding the implanted hip. When this occurs, the implant can become loose, cause pain, and can require surgery to remove and replace the hip implant.
A smaller number of metal on metal hip implant recipients have experienced effects on their heart, nervous system and thyroid gland stemming from a high level of metal ions getting into the blood stream.
The DePuy Recall
Upward of 90,000 patients received either the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System or the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System. According to the company itself, these systems fail 13% and 12% respectively within five years of being implanted. The British Orthopedic Association estimates much higher failure rates 49% failure at the six year mark.
In August of 2010, DePuy recalled the ASR XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System due to the high number of patients requiring surgery to replace the implants. DePuy set up a system through which it offers to cover some of the medical costs for those requiring replacement of the hip replacement.
Why Talk to a Lawyer?
According to the recall process set up by DePuy, the company will cover out-of-pocket expenses paid by insured patients, such as co-payments and co-insurance payments, along with lost wages for the time spent getting the additional surgery.
But what about any lost wages for time missed when the individual couldn't walk due to the degenerative implant? What about any of the other injuries suffered? Not to mention the fact that DePuys recall system requires patients to go through the hassle of another surgery, deal with their insurance company as if it was an ordinary procedure, then work with DePuy and its outsourced provider to collect out-of-pocket money spent.
DePuy Hip Implant Lawsuits
Needless to say, those injured by one of DePuys hip implants have rights to recover far more than their out-of-pocket expenses on a second surgery they never should have needed.
As of May 2011, approximately 700 lawsuits over the DePuy ASR XL have been filed in federal courts. In December of 2010, all federal lawsuits alleging injuries due to the DePuy implant were transferred to the United State District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, as part of multidistrict litigation before Judge David Katz. This means that all cases filed over the ASR XL in federal court will become part of the ongoing litigation in the federal court in Ohio.
Plaintiffs have also filled lawsuits in states across the country to recover damages for injuries from DePuy hip implants.
Learn More About Your DePuy Hip Implant Claim Options: Call an Attorney
As you can see from the statistics, there is a high probability of failure among the DePuy hip implants identified in the recall. Even if you haven't experienced any of the symptoms related to a hip implant failure, it's important that you consult with your health care provider immediately. You can also get legal peace of mind by contacting a product liability attorney experienced with medical device claims.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.