A lawsuit has been filed against hip replacement manufacturer DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc over failure of a DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip replacement. The lawsuit against DePuy was filed in Federal District Court in Ft. Myers, Florida . This is believed to be the first lawsuit filed in the United States over the failure of the DePuy ASR hip replacement. The patient in the suit is represented by an alliance of law firms pursuing claims on behalf of patients across the nation with failed DePuy ASR hip replacements.
The lawsuit alleges that the DePuy ASR hip replacement was defectively designed. It claims DePuy knew that their ASR hip replacements were failing at a higher than expected rate, yet it did not pass that information on to consumers or orthopaedic surgeons. As a result, diagnosis that the ASR hip replacement implanted in the patient has failed was needlessly delayed as her physicians were unaware of the prevelance of other failures. During the patient’s surgery to replace the failed hip replacement, her orthopedic surgeon discovered that the cup portion of the ASR hip replacement was extremely loose. The ASR hip replacement is designed so that a patient’s bone grows into the back of the cup to secure it. However, loosening because of a lack of bone in-growth into the cup is a hallmark of DePuy ASR hip replacement failures.
Unfortunately, DePuy's recall of the ASR systems comes too late for patients that were sold these devices. This is not a typical recall where the toy with lead paint can simply be discarded or returned to the manufacturer for a refund. This recall is for a product that has been implanted in a person's hip. As a result, the recalled product can only be replaced with the patient going through a painful and debilitating surgery and rehabilitation.
Many observers expect this already high failure rate to increase dramatically as problems with the DePuy ASR hip systems become more widely publicized. Denying that its decision to do so was related to reports of failures of the ASR systems, late last year DePuy ceased sales of the products. Unfortunately, by that time, almost 100,000 of the systems had been implanted in patients worldwide. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. is the orthopedic subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
According to DePuy, reported problems with the DePuy ASR hip systems include the following:
- Loosening, when the implant does not stay attached to the bone in the right position
- Fracture, where the bone around the implant may have broken; and
- Dislocation where the two parts of the implant that move against each other are no longer aligned.
In March of this year, the New York Times published an article about the high early failure rate of DePuy’s ASR hip replacement. Since that article was published many more reports of failures of ASR hip replacements have been received by both DePuy and the United States Food and Drug Administration. In its article, the New York Times quoted orthopedic experts critical of the design of the ASR hip replacement. Experts were also critical of DePuy’s failure to stop sales of the device sooner.
If you have a DePuy ASR hip replacement or hip resurfacing, and are experiencing problems with the device, you need to consult with an experienced medical product liability attorney immediately. It is best to retain an attorney before undergoing a revision surgery so that potentially important evidence can be preserved. Furthermore, by law there is a limited period of time in which you may bring a legal action against DePuy for a failed ASR hip system, so don’t delay.
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