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BMJ Report: ‘Hundreds of Thousands’ Implanted with Suspect DePuy Hip Devices

Hundreds of thousands of patients have been fitted with metal-on-metal hip implant devices whose faulty design may be exposing them to toxic cobalt and chromium shards, according to a recent report.

March 6, 2012 – Hundreds of thousands of patients have been fitted with metal-on-metal hip implant devices whose faulty design may be exposing them to toxic cobalt and chromium shards, according to a report published last month in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The risk allegedly comes from the implants’ metal joints grinding together against each other, which can result in a severe type of metal poisoning known as metallosis. An increasing number of lawsuits have been filed nationwide on behalf of individuals allegedly injured by DePuy hip implant devices.

DePuy Hip Lawsuit Update 11/13/13 – Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has agreed to pay over $4 billion to resolve more than 7,500 federal and state lawsuits over its DePuy hip replacement devices. All of the claims involve similar allegations that DePuy hip implants were defectively designed, resulting in adverse health complications including tissue damage, corrosion, metal ion poisoning (metallosis), and premature failure requiring the need for revision surgery. Click here to learn more.

Free DePuy Hip Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury after being fitted with a DePuy hip implant device, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against DePuy and we can help.

What’s the problem?

The new BMJ report blames the high number of implants with potentially-defective devices on DePuy, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, stating that the company continued to market the products even after it had information about the risk.

The risk of metal poisoning from cobalt-chrome hip replacement devices was first noted as far back as 1975, when doctors found that local tissue reacts to charged atoms (ions) from these metals. “The ions can also leach into the bloodstream spreading to the lymph nodes, spleen, liver and kidneys before being excreted in urine,” the BMJ report said.

In addition to the risk of metallosis, new research has also linked cobalt to a severe heart condition known as cardiomyopathy, and identified chromium ions as a likely carcinogen. According to a 2005 internal memo from DePuy, “In addition to inducing potential changes in immune function, there has been concern for some time that wear debris may be carcinogenic.” Yet despite the company’s knowledge of these potential side effects, DePuy continued to market its metal-on-metal hip replacement devices without adequate information regarding the potential complications.

In 2010, DePuy issued a nationwide recall for its ASR hip prothesis and began marketing another similar design known as the Pinnacle, which was intended to serve as an alternative to the ASR for most patients. But within a year, Pinnacle recipients began reporting the same kinds of problems that had been found in ASR patients, and federal health authorities subsequently warned public watchdog groups of failures with the newer model.

“Despite the fact that these risks have been known and well documented for decades, patients have been kept in the dark about their participation in what has effectively been a large uncontrolled experiment,” said BMJ investigations editor Deborah Cohen.

“This isn’t the unlucky failure to spot the misdemeanors of one rogue company or the occasional unforeseen breakdown of a small number of devices. It is the inability to prevent a whole class of failing hip implant from being used in hundreds of thousands of people globally.”

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Do You Have a DePuy Hip Lawsuit?

The Product Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in DePuy hip implant lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new DePuy hip injury cases in all 50 states.

Free DePuy Hip Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury after being implanted with a DePuy hip replacement device, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a DePuy hip implant injury suit and we can help.

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