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DePuy hip implant replacement: One patient’s ordeal

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2010 | Drug & Medical Device Injuries |

If you are experiencing pain or suffering from a defective medical device,  it’s wise to consult an attorney. For answers about legal issues in this article or with your own malfunctioning medical product, call me directly for help – Lawrence Egerton, 336-273-0508, or e-mail me at [email protected].

After hip replacement surgery in February 2008, Kim Horbas was mobile and pain-free. But by the summer, her hip began to make a clicking sound when she walked.

“It got louder and louder, so you could hear me coming from a pretty far distance,” said Horbas, a 55-year-old woman from Champagne, Illinois. Just 10 months after her first surgery and recovery, Horbas underwent surgery again to have the hip device removed and a different one implanted.

That is the story of one person who had a DePuy hip replacement implant. Her ordeal will likely be experienced by thousands of other patients.

On August 26, 2010, the DePuy Orthopaedics company, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, issued a voluntary recall of two hip replacement systems. The hip implants are known as the ASR XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System. About 93,000 of the devices have been implanted worldwide. The chances are that one out of eight of the implants will fail, requiring painful and expensive “revision” surgery.

Horbas went back to her doctor , who decided to take a look inside. He found metal staining the tissues, meaning the hip had been deteriorating inside. So, Horbas was facing surgery again and the ensuing rehab. “It was the same process all over again,” she said. “It’s pretty debilitating. You can’t move, you’re on a walker for four to six weeks, then you move on to a cane.”

To read the full story, see this article in the Illinois News-Gazette.

Horbas’s doctor, orthopedic surgeon Robert Bane, said he first began using the DePuy hip system in 2006, because its metal-on-metal construction was intended to make it last longer than the traditional device used in hip replacement surgery.

However, the rubbing of metal-on-metal releases microscopic metal particles. These microscopic particles disperse and accumulate in nearby parts of the body, where they can become toxic to tissue and possibly cause other problems. Bane stopped using the DePuy device when the first problem developed with a patient in late 2008. (This article explains further why the DePuy implant device fails.)

DePuy and Johnson & Johnson are offering compensation to patients injured by the implants. But the offer is limited.

Here is an excerpt from the DePuy recall statement:

“DePuy intends to cover reasonable and customary costs of testing and treatment if you need services, including revision surgery if it is necessary, associated with the recall of ASR … DePuy will then reimburse you for your reasonable out-of-pocket expenses.”

These statements are red flags. Who determines what is reasonable? The company that manufactured these faulty devices? And why are they offering “out-of-pocket” expenses only? What about the pain, mental anguish, scarring, or lost wages you might have suffered? Who will put a value on those damages?

The following articles can provide you with more information about:

Symptoms, health problems and possible damages

Documents releasing medical records (You should not sign them.)

Congressional hearings on Johnson & Johnson’s recall practices

Other patients’ cases and lawsuits

The severity of the health issues involved and DePuy’s limited offer of compensation mean you will need the counsel of an expert hip-replacement attorney. You may have suffered pain, diminished physical well-being, lost wages and other injuries. Contact the attorneys of the Egerton Law firm. We can help you through this trying time.

Has your life been disrupted by problems with a malfunctioning medical product? Do you or someone you know need the advice of a lawyer specializing in defective medical devices? You can get help at the Egerton Law website. The Egerton Law firm and its personal injury attorneys want to help you. Call us at 336-273-0508. E-mail us at [email protected]

Facts about the Egerton Law firm:

• We have built a tradition of helping injured people and their families since the firm was established in 1956.

• We have handled cases in North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, New York, the District of Columbia, the North Carolina Supreme Court, and U.S. District Court. We have fought cases all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

• Our team of lawyers are dedicated to fighting insurance companies and corporate giants that seek to increase their bottom line at the expense of injured people.

Are you being:

• Pressured to agree to reimbursement for “reasonable” or “out-of-pocket” medical expenses?

• Pressured to sign document you don’t understand? (Don’t sign anything without consulting us.)

• Told to submit bills for medical services to your insurance company or Medicare, and you will be reimbursed later?

Take action and help us to help you. Call or email: 336-273-0508[email protected]. We can advise you on whether you have a case and the process for getting medical care. You will always speak to an attorney on your first call.