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 800-800-4LAW, or e-mail me at [email protected].

Have you or someone you know had hip replacement surgery using a hip implant device made by the DePuy Orthopaedics company? You may be receiving a letter from your doctor asking you to come in for an evaluation of your hip, along with a Medical Release Form for you to fill out and sign.

This is the most important sentence you will read in this article:

Do not sign anything.

This is the second most important sentence:

You should contact a qualified hip-replacement attorney as soon as possible.

As you may have heard, on August 26, 2010, the DePuy Orthopaedics company, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, issued a voluntary recall of two hip replacement systems. The company stated that: “This recall means additional testing and treatment may be necessary to ensure the hip is functioning well. In some cases, patients may need additional surgery.” The additional surgery is also referred to as “revision surgery.”

The hip implants are known as the ASR XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System. For more details about the devices, symptoms you may experience, and possible complications, view my previous article.

The letter you receive will suggest that you call DePuy if you have any questions about payment for treatment. You should not do that. It will also ask you to complete the Medical Release form and bring it to your evaluation in order to “share information regarding your hip with DePuy.” This is information you do not want to share. It can be used against you.

This information includes new patient intake form, progress record, telephone message slips, copies of lab work, consultation reports, physical therapy reports, and all records related to your surgery and follow-up.

At this juncture, ask yourself: Why does DePuy want telephone message slips?

More warning signs appear in an Information for Patients sheet included with the letter.

The information sheet says that DePuy needs your medical records for reasons that include:

  • “To evaluate whether costs related to the patient’s treatment are eligible for reimbursement”
  • “To confirm that the (additional surgery) is related to the ASR recall, and not some type of other cause, such as a traumatic fall”

The Information for Patients sheet also notes that although no patient is required to sign the Medical Release Form:

“We regret that without access to all of the appropriate medical information, it is unlikely that we will be able to consider the patient’s claims for reimbursement and prompt resolution of their claim may not be possible.”

Here is another item to consider.

The doctor’s letter mentions that “A small number of patients with the hip implant you received have experienced problems that require additional care and potentially further treatment.” (For a copy of the letter click here.)

However, DePuy’s information sheet states:

“New data shows that five years after implantation, approximately 12% of patients (1 in 8) who had received the ASR resurfacing device and 13% of patients (1 in 8) who had received the ASR total hip replacement needed to have a revision surgery.”

That is an astonishingly high rate of failure in these joint replacements. By DePuy's own admission, one out of eight patients had to undergo “revision surgery.”  

As quoted in this news article, one lawsuit states: “Officials of J&J’s DePuy Orthopaedics unit knew for years many of the 93,000 patients with ASR hip implants required corrective surgeries due to the mechanisms’ defects.”

For information on this lawsuit, filed August 30, view my previous article.

Finding out that a device that has been implanted in your body is now being recalled is a scary thing. And along with the mental anxiety, you may have suffered pain, diminished well-being, lost wages and other injuries.

The attorneys of the Egerton Law firm can help you. We can review the documents that you receive, explain their ramifications, and advise you on how to proceed. If you have already signed documents, we can tell you how to undo that. In this case, it’s a good idea to see your lawyer before you see your doctor.

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