If you had a hip replacement performed with a DePuy ASR or Pinnacle artificial hip system, you may have experienced painful or debilitating complications. If you did, you are far from alone. Countless people have suffered because of the early failures and other issues with these particular hip systems and components and those people are filing lawsuits.
DePuy Hip lawsuits are being filed over high revision rates, high failure rates, and even metal poisoning. While metal-on-metal hips were supposed to be more durable and to last longer for active and younger patients, the problems for many have outweighed the benefits. If you have experienced any of these problems, you may want to join the many people suing for compensation.
DePuy Artificial Hips
Hip replacement surgeries are done for patients with enough joint damage, pain, and reduced mobility to make surgery worthwhile. Arthritis, bone cancer, and even injuries can cause the damage that leads to the need for a new hip, or at least parts of a new hip. A hip replacement involves removing the socket, or cup, attached to the pelvis and the head of the femur, or the ball of the joint. They are then replaced with three artificial components: a new cup, a new head for the femur, and a stem that attaches the head to the femur.
Traditionally artificial hips were made of a combination of plastic, metal, or ceramic parts, and were used mainly in older patients. These older hips were not able to withstand a lot of physical activity and were not expected to have a long life. More recently, companies like DePuy Orthopaedics have developed metal-on-metal hips, which were supposed to be more durable and better-suited for younger or more active patients.
DePuy mad two metal-on-metal hip systems that turned out to be problematic: the ASR and the Pinnacle hip systems. In particular, the cup for the Pinnacle system, known as the acetabular cup liner, was found to cause problems for patients. The liner was used to line the natural hip socket after damaged material had been removed. It was discontinued in 2013.
The ASR XL Acetabular System and ASR Hip Resurfacing System ended up in over 90,000 patients and were supposed to be designed to be more stable and less prone to dislocate than other artificial hips. These systems turned out to have higher failure rates and much higher revision rates than other types of hips and were eventually recalled by DePuy in 2010
Complications with DePuy Hips
Each of the DePuy hips that were eventually recalled or discontinued had particular problems associated with them. But they also were part of a larger general problem with metal-on-metal hips. These hips were supposed to be stronger and to last longer, but across several companies’ products they ended up failing more often and causing more problems for patients.
One of the big problems with these kinds of hips is that there is metal rubbing against metal when the hip joint moves. This causes tiny fragments of metal to wear off and move into surrounding tissues and even into the patient’s bloodstream. This was one of the main problems with the Pinnacle cup liner. Patients experienced local area reactions from the metal fragments, including inflammation, pain, lack of mobility, and infections. Some people even experienced metal poisoning as the fragments moved through the bloodstream and throughout the body.
The ASR system’s biggest problem was another common issue seen in metal-on-metal hips: a high failure rate. There is always some chance with an artificial hip that it will fail and revision surgery will be required to replace or repair it. With the ASR the rate at which patients needed revisions was much higher than normal. The hip was failing too often. It became dislocated, loosened or came out of place in the joint, or even corroded or broke. These failures have caused a lot of people pain, loss of mobility, and the need for multiple additional surgeries.
What You May Get in a Settlement
If you choose to file a DePuy Hip lawsuit, you may want to do so to get compensation and to see that justice is served. Many critics claim that DePuy’s hips were not adequately tested before being used in hip replacement surgeries. Like many other devices they were approved through the FDA’s 510(k) process, which expedites approval and limits the testing requirements for devices are similar to others already on the market.
If you file a lawsuit that results in a successful settlement, you may get money to help pay your medical expenses and the income you lost from being on leave from work. Hip revision surgeries are complex and require a significant amount of recovery time. You can also seek compensation for your pain and suffering. You expected to have your hip joint feel better after surgery, not worse. You may even be struggling with permanent pain or joint damage because of a DePuy hip.
DePuy Hip Lawsuits
Several lawsuits have already been started, and some settled, over DePuy hip systems. The plaintiffs have claimed that DePuy, and parent company Johnson & Johnson, were negligent in their suffering. They state that the company failed to warn them of the risks, that they hid the problems associated with the hips, and that they committed fraud in presenting the Pinnacle and ASR systems as safe and effective.
Just a few examples of lawsuits filed against DePuy for the hips include a woman in Tennessee who experienced debilitating pain, an inability to walk, and high levels of heavy metals in her blood after receiving an ASR hip. A man in California filed a lawsuit claiming the company knew about the high risks of failure and was responsible for the failure and revision surgeries he needed.
Many of these DePuy lawsuits, of which the above are just two examples, have reached settlements in favor of the plaintiffs. The first settlement awarded was $8.3 million to a man in California. The jury found that the hip was defective in its design. Three women in Nevada were awarded $200,000 each after complications from ASR implants.
The biggest settlement has been awarded by a jury in Texas, which found that the Pinnacle hips made by DePuy were defective and that the company knew about the defects. This jury awarded punitive damages of $360 million, as well as up to $250,000 per individual in the consolidated lawsuit. The total settlement is expected to reach at least $4 billion.
If you have experienced failures, pain, metal poisoning, revision surgeries, or other complications associated with a DePuy artificial hip, you can start your own lawsuit and seek compensation. To see if you have a case, talk to a lawyer and find out what your next step should be.