We haven’t posted about the latest happening in the DePuy hip recall saga in awhile, but that is not because there have not been any developments. On the contrary, just last week the New York Times published another long story on the rise of medical defect failures, in particular the widespread problems associated with metal-on-metal artificial hip implants.
The story noted that the recent problem with the all-metal artificial hips is likely the most widespread medical implant failure in decades. While DePuy hips may be the most high-profile of the lot, all metal-on-metal devices have seen their share of failures, and the results for the victims have been staggering. The NYT story, for example, profiled a local Illinois DePuy hip recall victim who had already racked up nearly half a million dollars in medical bills as a result of the problem caused by the hip failure. Similar to complications that our DePuy hip recall lawyers have seen in area cases, the man here suffered a range of problems as a result of his need to have revision surgery. The second surgery is traumatic enough, but in addition the profiled victim suffered a fractured pelvis and serious infection.
As any injury lawyer will explain, no matter what the legal outcome for these victims ultimately is, there is no way for them to actually get back all that they lost because of this situation. Many victims were forced to spend months in virtual immobility because of their injuries. Others will never regain the strength or overall health that they had before the implant failure. While being awarded resources and having accountability in a personal injury lawsuit will be helpful, it is disingenuous to claim that the award will make everything all right. It won’t, and the victims should not be told otherwise.
Literally thousands of residents across the country have faced this struggle. This latest story explains how metal-on-metal hip implants accounted for about one third of all such hip implants performed each year. That number has declined sharply since the problems with the devices came out, but not before half a million patients had them installed in their bodies. Unfortunately, it is impossible to track the exact number of those devices that have failed. This is because the tracking of such failures does not occur in this country-a problem we have discussed before.
Yet, experts involved in the revision surgery process have noted that extrapolating the data that is available suggests that literally tens of thousands of patients may ultimately need to have risky, expensive revision surgery in the coming years as more and more of the devices fail. The involved companies have already set aside vast sums of money to cover the losses experienced by patients who have already had complications as a result of the defect. However, as always, we remind patients not to deal with insurance companies, lawyers for the medical device makers, and other on their own. At the end of the day, these companies are always working to make settlement offers that help their bottom line, not ensure that the involved patients are fully reimbursed for the entirety of their losses.
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