Articles Posted in Hip Replacement Defect Cases

Marilyn Adams had a long history of hip pain. In September 2010, she was diagnosed with advanced degenerative arthritis.

Her orthopedic surgeon recommended a total hip replacement. She was told that the Zimmer hip device implanted in January 2011 could be expected to last 15-20 years.

However, in late 2012, Adams started experiencing severe hip pain. The cause was not clear.  Her February 2015 revision hip surgery revealed the Zimmer implant had been discharging excessive and potentially toxic metal debris into Adams’s hip.

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Metal-on-metal artificial hips were originally thought to be more durable and longer lasting than the traditional hip implants. It was believed that the mechanical hip implants would reduce wear and lower the rates of failure and dislocation. With the advent of multiple medical studies, it was found that metal-on-metal hips were no more reliable than the traditional hip implants. However, danger of metal-on-metal hip implants subjected patients to severe side effects. One of those side effects is metallosis poisoning.

Many of the metal-on-metal hip implants contain cobalt and chromium;  when broken down in the blood stream, these can cause irreversible damage to patients. The metal-on-metal hip implants, when in regular use, grind or shred metallic particles into the surrounding body tissues  and spread throughout the bloodstream. It was found in 2010 that cobalt and chromium ions were frequently found in the blood and urine of hip implant patients. Metallosis destroys the surrounding tissue. 

In addition, the metallic particles can lodge in other organs of the body. It has been reported that metallic particles have been found in bone marrow, in the liver, kidneys and bladder. In fact, studies have revealed that high levels of metallic ions in the body can increase the risk of different cancers.

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DePuy Orthopaedics is the subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. The company has agreed to pay $2.475 billion to settle what amounts to thousands of claims related to patient injuries suffered as a result of defective ASR hip implant parts.  The settlement was approved by U.S. District Judge David A. Katz of the Northern District of Ohio. Judge Katz is overseeing the consolidated multidistrict litigation (MDL) of more than 10,000 DePuy claims.

The ASR XL Acetabular and ASR Hip Resurfacing Systems were recalled in August 2010 after reports that there was an unusually high rate of that device failing within five years after being surgically implanted.  

Individuals who had this hip replacement device implanted have suffered a number of different kinds of ailments. For one, because of the metal-on-metal parts contained within the hip system, patients have developed metallosis, which is metal poisoning. Shavings from the metal-on-metal device move from the hip ball into the hip socket, causing small metal particles to enter the bloodstream. 

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A confidential settlement agreement was reached just two weeks before the start of a bellwether case in a coordinated litigation in California regarding hip implants. The terms of the settlement agreement were not revealed. 

The trial had been scheduled to begin in the middle of October 2013.  The next bellwether trial is set to begin in January 2014 in Los Angeles.  Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, DePuy Orthopaedics Inc., face thousands of lawsuits at the federal and state levels regarding the ASR implants. 

In March 2013, a Los Angeles jury returned a verdict of $8.3 million in damages to a retired prison guard who claimed that he was injured by the device. This was the first such trial against the orthopedic company.

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