Patients implanted with metal-on-metal hip implants are suffering serious health consequences from the devices and accusing manufacturers of putting marketing before patient safety. Thousands of patients have filed lawsuits against these companies, including Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics, which recently recalled many of its all-metal devices. Hip implant lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm detail one of the most recent cases against DePuy currently in trial.
This latest trial against DePuy is considered a bellwether trial, which are used in large-scale litigation (there are about 6,500 hip cases pending against DePuy). In a bellwether trial, a judge selects a few cases to represent the majority of plaintiffs. These cases are then fully prepared on both sides and tried before a jury. They are meant to be representative of issues that arise in most injured peoples’ cases, to give everyone an indication of what is likely to happen in future trials.
For the DePuy cases, one of the plaintiffs selected as a bellwether is coming to a close in Dallas. Over the past eight weeks, the client has accused DePuy of prioritizing marketing and sales over patient safety in its Pinnacle line of all-metal hip implants. She is also accusing the company of negligence, designing a defective product, failing to warn, and violating laws related to marketing.
DePuy stopped selling the Pinnacle implant in 2013 once it became clear the devices were failing in extremely high rates. DePuy sold two other metal-on-metal hip systems, the ASR Hip Resurfacing System and ASR XL Acetabular System, which were both recalled in 2010.
This is the first case to go to trial over the Pinnacle device, and the jury is currently in deliberation. We will update this blog once they make a decision. The plaintiff is asking the jury to recognize that DePuy hid the safety risks of all-metal devices, failed to warn doctors and patients that the implants could shed metal ions into the bloodstream, infecting the surrounding tissue and causing metal toxicity in some patients.
Regarding its marketing, DePuy is accused of pushing the metal-on-metal devices specifically to younger, more active patients, claiming the all-metal devices would provide better mobility and would last longer. The opposite turned out to be true, with several studies pointing to early failure rates much higher than traditional hip implants.
Medical experts estimate that at least 10% of Pinnacle hips will fail within two to three years of implantation. When hip implants fail, doctors must go in for a revision surgery, which are often expensive and painful. Since such a high number of all-metal hips failed, there is much evidence that the implants were causing even more destruction in the body than they realized.
Patients implanted with defective metal-on-metal were showing signs of severe tissue death, ruptured tendons, fluid pockets, and other serious health effects. Additionally, as mentioned above, the metal implants release chromium and cobalt particles into the body, causing inflammation, pain, and difficulty moving. Long term effects of metal poisoning include brain and heart problems.
Several other companies make metal-on-metal hip implants and are also facing massive litigation. Among them include: Biomet, Zimmer, Smith & Nephew, and Stryker. Many of these companies have recalled their all-metal hip devices, including Stryker’s Rejuvenate and ABG II implants.
Our team of metal-on-metal hip implant lawyers is currently accepting cases from implant recipients nationwide. Even if you have not suffered any serious injuries, you may still be eligible to receive compensation from a settlement with the manufacturer, as it is likely that you will need a revision surgery in the near future. If you have any questions about these lawsuits or your particular experience with a defective hip implant, contact our firm immediately. Our case reviews are always completely free, and we take clients from all 50 states.