Over the years, medical advances have led to countless innovative inventions that have saved many lives. However, not every medical innovation lives up to its expectations. The recall of DuPuy’s metal-on-metal hip joint is a perfect example of a medical device that failed to delivery as promised.
The first artificial hip joint was developed in the 1960s and was made of a metal ball placed in a plastic cup, which were meant to replicate the thigh bone and hip socket, respectively. Then, metal-on-metal hip implant devices were developed in response to studies showing that metal and plastic hip devices were leading to bone loss in some patients.
The medical community believed the medical device changes made to metal-on-metal hip implants would revolutionize the future of artificial hips. Not only would the newer design lead to less bone loss in patients, but by replacing plastic with metal, the belief was that the new medical device would last longer than the original metal and plastic version. Medical professionals viewed metal-on-metal hip devices as the final solution to hip implant patients’ problems.
However, further testing and research ordered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has shown that metal-on-metal hip implants are actually more dangerous than their older counterparts; metal-on-metal hip devices tend to leave metallic debris in the body. While some doctors have confirmed that their patients have done well with the metal-on-metal implants, other orthopedic surgeons do not agree.
In fact, lawmakers and members of the medical community area asking the FDA to institute tighter regulations when approving new medical devices for market consumption. Currently, the FDA is in the process of testing the metal-on-metal hip devices in its laboratories.
Yet regardless of the outcome of these federal tests, the damage has already been done – both to the patients and to the companies manufacturing the medical devices. While patients continue to suffer from the negative side effects of the metal-on-metal implants, the companies manufacturing the hip devices are being sued. Johnson & Johnson manufactures the DuPuy metal-on-metal hip device and is at the center of several product liability lawsuits against DuPuy.
However, metal-on-metal hip implant manufacturers are not the only medical companies that need to be concerned of being sued in today’s economy. For example, Zimmer Holdings manufacturers artificial joints, then stopped its sales of one of its metal products. Likewise, Avandia, a diabetes drug, has been linked to heart attacks. But perhaps the most famous among the legal community is the recall of a heart implant manufacturer by Medtronic. If anything, the wide range of unsafe medical products on the market speaks to the increased need for stricter regulations by the FDA.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois medical device defect cases for individuals and families for more than 35 years in and around Chicago, Cook County, and surrounding areas, including Rosemont, Bensenville, Arlington Heights, and Prospect Heights.
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