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The first total hip replacement was established in the 1930’s by Orthopedic Surgeon, Phillip Wiles, of the Middlesex Hospital.  Prior to this, prosthetic replacement surgery was of the hemi-arthroplasty type with only one arthritic surface being replaced and the results were unsatisfactory. This is the first replacement which replaced the socket and the femoral component.  According to one source, the records of Wiles’ 6 hip replacement cases were lost during the war but one patient was reported to have still had had their implant 35 years later, was barely mobile and in debilitating pain from the implant.

Those first “innovative” medical devices of yesteryear would not only look  archaic, but likely be deficient in functionality and performance and would wreak utter havoc on a patient’s body if on the market today.

Our knowledge and technology has grown considerably and the pharmaceutical and medical device industries’ access to information and funds needed to make the next new drug or device seems to be unlimited.  But does that mean the hip replacement devices being made today are much safer and more efficient than those from nearly a century ago?

When first developed, hip replacements fell apart and eroded away quickly inside the body and caused innumerable long-term side effects and illnesses which may have required medical attention that was not readily available or accessible. While durability and design has improved the lifespan of these products, medical device companies are still creating and selling products that have seriously harmed and even caused the death of  hip replacement patients all over the world.

Enter DePuy

DePuy (pronounced DePew) Orthopaedics, the leading worldwide medical device and medical implant manufacturer, introduced what became a very popular, widely-used product lineup in the 2000s.  This lineup included the Pinnacle Hip Replacement System, the ASR XL Acetabular System total hip replacement and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System.  This product family featured a metal-on-metal (MoM) option intended to provide more flexibility and durability for younger patients.  Though this may have seemed like a great idea at the time, DePuy’s MoM design had serious flaws.

Patient reports of grinding in the joint, bone fractures and dislocations began to roll in. The implant was causing constant debilitating pain.  Further, the damage done to the joint, bones and surrounding tissues would sometimes lead to numerous revision surgeries in an attempt to correct and salvage what was left.

Even more insidious and disturbing was the high rate of Metallosis, or heavy metal poisoning, developing among the DePuy MoM arthroplasty patient segment.  Metallosis is the result of friction in the joint which releases cobalt and chromium particles from the implant into the surrounding tissue, blood stream and bone.  Basically, the hip implant is slowly dissolving into the body of its patients and causing serious harmto the body as whole often resulting in life-threatening and long-team side effects as well as death.   Metallosis can cause:

  • Cardiomyopathy (heart problems), including heart failure
  • Visual impairment that may lead to blindness
  • Certain Cancers
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Nerve problems
  • Organ Failure
  • Thyroid problems
  • Auditory impairment that may lead to deafness
  • Necrosis (tissue or bone death)
  • Skin rashes
  • Infection

In 2010, Depuy issued a voluntary recall of the defective hip replacement system

Although DePuy issued a voluntary recall and offered revision surgeries, as many 93,000 plus patients had received a hip arthroplasty using DePuy’s MoM devices.  This recall did not relieve those patients from the mental and physical anguish that had already experienced because of DePuy’s massive oversight.  Further, the recall did not brace those patients for an uncertain and unstable future.  The recall did not reimburse the patients for the paralyzing debt they have most likely have experienced because of the medical expenses associated with a defective MoM hip implant.

DePuy made billions from these dangerous medical devices whose flawed and destructive design has now cost thousands of individuals their hopes and dreams; their ability to provide for themselves and their families; their ability to play with their kids and grandkids; and many times, their ability to carry out basic activities of daily living on their own.  For some families, the unfortunate truth is that these dangerous devices and the company that made them are responsible for the loss of a loved one.

If you or someone you know has received a DePuy brand hip replacement in the past, you may be entitled to compensation.  You may not be able to put a price on the years you’ve lost, but that doesn’t mean you should allow the world’s leading big money medical device manufacturer to tell you what you deserve for your pain and suffering.  We give our clients the fighting chance they truly deserve.  The experienced Tennessee defective medical device attorneys at the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm can evaluate your case and protect your rights.  Visit one of our offices in Nashville, Hendersonville or Knoxville, or contact us at (615) 425-2500 today for a free consultation. We fight for you!