Hip failures caused by faulty medical implants will cost taxpayers, employers, insurers and others billions in the coming years, experts say.

A recent News York Times article discussed the very high costs associated with victims of failing artificial hip prostheses. The story is particularly compelling for me because I represent a number of local people who are suffering horribly with medical complications caused by defective hip prostheses:

  • A Hammondsport, N.Y.,  man who had the misfortune to receive the DePuy A.S.R. hip prosthesis that was recalled last year by its manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson. This poor fellow has already suffered through several surgeries in an unsuccessful attempt to replace the defective hip prosthesis but he continues to suffer significant ongoing complications.
  • A Bath, N.Y., woman who also had the DePuy A.S.R. hip prosthesis and who is suffering dramatically elevated chromium and cobalt levels in her blood.
  • Two women, from Corning, N.Y., and Big Flats, N.Y.

Although prosthetic devices can fail for a number of reasons (poor design, improper materials, improper installation, etc.), these particular cases involve hip prostheses that failed because of their metal-on-metal design.  Metal wear due to metal grinding on metal causes small flakes of metal debris to contaminate both the artificial joint and the patient’s bloodstream. This metal wear causes premature failure of the hip joint itself and has the nasty effect of causing all sorts of medical complications due to the metal contamination.

It is important to note that in our cases we are NOT claiming that the doctors who performed the surgery to implant the prosthesis were negligent. Our claims are against the manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson, who released a defectively designed product without performing appropriate long-term testing or otherwise confirming that the prosthesis as designed was safe.

The New York Times story points out a staggering toll from this failure:

  • “Until a recent sharp decline, all-metal implants accounted for nearly one-third of the estimated 250,000 hip replacements performed each year in the U.S.
  • Some 500,000 people have received an all-metal replacement hip!
  • “Medical and legal experts estimate the hip failures may cost taxpayers, insurers, employers and others billions of dollars in the coming years.”
  • Lawsuits and complaints against the makers of all-metal hip replacements have passed the 5,000 mark.
  • Private insurers are warning patients that they plan to recover their expenses from any settlement money the patients receive, and Medicare expects to try to recover its costs, too.

The New York Times reporter also answers readers’ questions about the story here. And there is also a graphic here that explains why the implaints fail.

If you or someone you love in Elmira, Corning and the Twin Tiers has an artificial hip, be sure they are checked by their medical doctor to see whether they have an all-metal implant that could cause them major medical complications.

Thanks for reading.

Thanks, Jim


James B. Reed
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Mailto: jreed@zifflaw.com
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Web: www.zifflaw.com
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