When someone goes in for a serious surgical procedure, like a hip replacement, they have several reasonable expectations:
- The medical operation is necessary
- Their doctor is properly trained and capable of performing the procedure
- The tools and medical devices used in the surgery are safe and secure
Sadly, those very simple and fair expectations are frequently not met, resulting in serious injury (and even death) for many unsuspecting patients. In fact, when medical devices involved in the procedure are unsafe, it is not uncommon for hundreds or even thousands of patients to suffer serious harm. To illustrate the point one need look no further than the high-profile example of defective metal-on-metal hip implant devices manufactured by a company called DePuy.
Depuy Hip Recall
In August of 2010 a division of Johnson & Johnson known as DePuy Orthopaedics issued a recall on two hip replacement systems: the ASR™ XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System. These were metal “joint and socket” devices that were implanted into patients during hip replacement surgeries. The Hip Resurfacing System was actually not approved in the United States, but the ASR™ XL Acetabular System was available everywhere.
The recall was issued after vociferous calls from advocates following studies which suggested the products failed at far higher rates than acceptable. As many as two to three patients out of every ten who received the product may ultimately suffer harm. Patients who have the defective hips experience pain, discomfort, swelling, and many ultimately have trouble walking. For some a risky (and costly) hip repair surgery is necessary.
Design flaws seem to be at the heart of the problem. In some cases the implant is dislodged from the bone around the hip. This causes severe pain and may cause bone fractures. Additionally, both the “ball” and “socket” portions of the device are made of metal. At times, the rubbing of these two metallic pieces can cause damage, releasing small particles into the bloodstream. Adverse reactions and fluid build up can be spurred by those particles, resulting in swelling, muscle loss, bone damage, and more.
The bottom line: Patients may experience a myriad of very serious problems as a result of defects with these DePuy hip implants.
Florida DePuy Hip Cases
Sadly, many Floridians are still feeling the effects of this defective product. The devices were used as recently as two and a half years ago, meaning that some local residents who received the implant may not yet be showing signs of problems. But the device could fail in the next few years.
South Florida residents should be aware that product liability laws and basic negligence principles may provide them avenues to recover for their medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more as a result of receiving this defective medical device. Thousands of Depuy implant lawsuits have already been filed, and many more are expected. These suits usually alleged negligence on the part of the company for failing to keep patients safe and allowing the poorly designed product to be used on thousands.
In fact, the first of these cases recently went to trial. After hearing the evidence about the injuries suffered by the plaintiff in that case and the actions of the company, the jury returned a verdict in the amount of $8.3 million for the injured patient. That amount was only for compensatory damages. Many suspect that future verdicts may result in juries also awarding punitive damages for the company’s conduct.
If you or someone you know may have been harmed in this way, act quickly to protect your
rights. Contact Zimmerman & Frachtman using our form below, or call us at 954-509-1900.