Recent Multi-Million Dollar Verdicts are Latest in Replacement Hip Saga
By Nathan D. Williams, staff writer
Just in the last couple of months, two separate juries in Los Angeles have returned verdicts regarding defective metal-on-metal replacement hips.
The first case involved a patient who was awarded $4.5 million after a Profemur R implant device from Wright Medical Technologies, Inc. broke. The plaintiff, Alan Warner, required 14 major surgeries to correct dislocations and infections caused by the broken implant. After reviewing the evidence during the three-week trial and deliberations, the jury determined the implant failed because of a mistake in the manufacturing process. The failure wasn’t due to a design flaw.
A separate L.A. jury awarded more than $9 million to a California man who was injured by the Durum Cup replacement hip manufactured by Zimmer, Inc. Gary Kline, the plaintiff, received the implant in 2007 but had it removed a little over a year later. The Durum Cup was taken off the market in 2008. The jury in this case found that Zimmer was completely responsible for negligent design of the implant and failure to warn the public of these dangers.
“Adequate testing of this device by the manufacturer would have revealed the defects of the device and saved many of these patients from revision surgeries, complications and pain,” explains attorney Steven Johnson.
A much larger web of recalls and litigation involving defective replacement hips
These two verdicts are hardly the first, nor the last judgements regarding defective metal-on-metal hip replacements.
- Most of the pending lawsuits involving Wright Medical for example involve a completely separate model where metal components would grind together and release toxins into the patient’s blood.
- One particularly large case involving the DePuy Pinnacle has more than 7,000 plaintiffs - the federal judge over many of these cases has set a trial start date of January of next year. For more, read DePuy Bribed Surgeons to Use Defective Hip: Lawsuit.
- DePuy is also currently involved in several thousand other claims involving its ASR hip implant. After reports of a large number of revision surgeries, DePuy recalled the ASR. Johnson & Johnson is the parent company of DePuy Orthopaedics.
- Stryker’s Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck hip implants are also under intense scrutiny for causing metal poisoning. Although the company did recall the implants, a New Jersey judge announced a $1 billion settlement program for patients affected by a defective Stryker hip implant.
In a report on PersonalInjury.com, studies show that metal-on-metal implants have a much higher rate of failure than plastic ones. Because of this and higher numbers of reports of pain and swelling in replacement hip patients, the FDA is asking manufacturers to conduct additional studies on the safety and value of these devices. Approximately 270,000 replacement hip surgeries occur in the U.S. each year.
Also according to the FDA, symptoms of defective metal-on-metal implants include hip and groin pain, local swelling, numbness, or changes in how you walk. Adverse reaction to metal ions can lead to a variety of other issues, including skin rash, fatigue, weight gain, auditory and visual impairments or cardiomyopathy.
These cases will undoubtedly continue for many years into the future. If you and your doctor believe your replacement hip is causing additional pain and other issues, it’s imperative you speak with a defective hip attorney as soon as possible to determine if you have a case.