Orthopedic surgeons diagnose and treat diseases and injuries of the musculoskeletal system. They are experts in the treatment of bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves with surgery and corrective mechanical devices. Litigation in orthopedic surgery typically stems from medical complications as well as poor surgical outcomes resulting in a loss of function. In the news, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has decided that while the lower court dismissed the case, a lawsuit accusing DePuy Orthopaedics of marketing faulty metal-on-metal hip replacement products will go forward. With more than 9,000 DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits pending in the Northern District of Texas, three have already been decided. The first one resulted in a win for the medical device manufacturer. Next, in March 2016, five Pinnacle hip plaintiffs were awarded $502M. A third Pinnacle hip trial took place in February 2017 where a Texas jury awarded more than $1B to six patients who were implanted with the all-metal hip replacement system.
Www.recallreport.org reports on DePuy’s hip replacement products:
Artificial hips may be made of ceramic, plastic, or metal. Metal is the sturdiest material, and so metal-on-metal hips were designed to be longer lasting implants for younger patients. Unfortunately there have been all kinds of problems with hips that have a metal socket rubbing against a metal ball in the joint. Over time, metal wears off and can cause metal poisoning and other problems.
Some of these have been seen in DePuy’s ASR and Pinnacle hip systems. Metal-on-metal hip joints have the potential to cause metal poisoning, but also bone fractures in the area of the hip, dislocation of the hip joint, and loosening of the implant in the body. Revision surgery is needed to correct many of these problems….
As the ASR systems were recalled, the Pinnacle acted as the successor and many patients in the U.S. received this implant. Unfortunately the Pinnacle had nearly the same problems as the ASR. Doctors following the failures found that more than ten percent of implanted Pinnacle systems failed two to three years after surgery. Patients with Pinnacle hips have experienced product failure, but also dislocations, pain, swelling, and poor mobility.
One of the most troubling problems seen with the Pinnacle has been contamination of the blood by chromium and cobalt from the metal-on-metal hip. The high levels of these heavy metals in the blood can cause heart disease, brain disease, kidney damage, thyroid problems, and damage to soft tissues. DePuy has not admitted to any problems with the Pinnacle hips and has not recalled them, but the FDA is requiring all makers of metal-on-metal hips to conduct long-term safety studies.
Plaintiffs in litigation against DePuy complained of implant loosening, extreme pain, shedding of metallic debris inside the body, and intense soft tissue damage. Some patients underwent revision surgery to remove the implant. Orthopedic surgery expert witnesses are critical in explaining medical procedures and devices such as the ASR and Pinnacle hip replacement implants to the court. These medical professionals are able to broaden the understanding of the jury and provide an unbiased opinion regarding allegations of medical product failure. Contact ELITE Medical Experts to secure a leading orthopedic surgery expert from a major US academic medical center.