Depuy Hip Replacement Devices Defective, Patients Seek Damages
In California and throughout the rest of the United States, patients who have a medical device implanted have the right to assume that the medical device is safe and that it will work as expected, explains a California personal injury lawyer. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and many medical devices are released that later turn out to be dangerous. A recent example of a defective product case involved a company called DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc.
DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. produced hip replacement products constructed of metal-on-metal. Metal-on-metal became a very popular design for hip replacement products from 2006 to 2010, especially in younger or more active patients and, in fact, the British Medical Journal indicated that as many as 10 percent of total hip operations between these years involved the use of metal-on-metal products. These metal-on-metal implants were alleged to be a better option and to last longer than other hip replacement products.
Unfortunately, it turned out that the supposed benefits of metal-on-metal hip implants were not only overstated but that the metal-on-metal implants were, in fact, often dangerous and more prone to failure. Two products sold by DePuy Orthopaedics, in particular, were causing problems for patients. These included the DePuy ASR™ XL Acetabular System and the DePuy ASR™ Hip Resurfacing System. The Acetabular System was used for total hip replacements. The DePuy resurfacing system, while never approved in the U.S., was apparently implanted in some U.S. patients either as part of clinical trials or abroad, according to a statement made by a DePuy spokesman for Arthritis Today.
Combined, both DePuy systems were used on a significant number of patients. In fact, it is estimated that 93,000 patients worldwide had a hip procedure using a product by DePuy Orthopaedics between 2005 and mid-2010, when a global recall was issued. The recall was prompted by many different factors, including a high early failure rate as well as the potential risk of bone, muscle and tissue damage caused by metal particles flaking off of the hip replacement devices.
A January 2012 U.S. National Library of Medicine article, for instance, indicated that an estimated 49 percent of people with a DePuy device would need to have the device replaced within a period of six years. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also released a statement warning of the dangers of flaking metal. The British Medical Journal and BBC Newsnight both brought other problems to the attention of the public, indicating that the metal-on-metal hip replacement devices could release ions that cause long term disability by affecting the muscle, bone, lymph nodes, spleen, kidneys and liver; however, the U.S. National Library of Medicine has suggested that there is not yet conclusive evidence to say for sure whether the metal-on-metal devices actually do damage to parts of the body other than the soft tissue near where the hip implant is located.
Because of the dangers associated with the DePuy products, more than 6,000 lawsuits are currently pending against Johnson & Johnson, which had acquired DePuy in 1998. These lawsuits were brought by plaintiffs all over the country and by plaintiffs with different types of injuries caused by the defective DePuy products.
However, while the lawsuits were filed throughout the entire United States, an estimated 4,200 different DePuy cases have been consolidated in a U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Ohio. These cases were consolidated in something called a multi-district litigation.
Hopefully, patients who suffered harm from these defective products will receive the compensation necessary for their physical and financial recovery.
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