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Many Remain Unaware of DePuy Hip Recall Problems

Blog readers are likely aware that it has now been nearly a year and a half since the the DePuy Acetabular Hip Replacement System (ASR Hip) recall affecting thousands of patients across the country. Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers have followed the developments closely because we work with local patients who have suffered harm because of dangerous medical device, like these defective hips. Considering that we have been reporting on the situation consistently, it is easy to forget that news about these recalls do not necessarily travel fast throughout the community. In fact, there very well may be more individuals who have been unknowingly harmed by this faulty device. That is why it remains important to keep spreading information about these issues so that those who may be individually harmed by the DePuy hip recallmay seek out appropriate medical and legal advice.

The defective device in question is a new design of the traditional hip replacement, which include a “ball and socket” that mimics the movements of the actual human hip. All of these replacements have traditional used by metallic and plastic parts in conjunction. But the DePuy system is different in that it used entirely metallic components, and allows for a metal “ball” to move on top of a metal “socket.” The metal-on-metal feature of the device is now known to present an issue for those who had the replacements, as it may lead to problems. The ASR hip was first used in 2005, after it used an alternative FDA approval mechanism-known as the 501(k) process)-to send the hip to market without undergoing clinical trials beforehand. That shortcut would ultimately prove ill-advised.

Soon after patients began receiving the replacement, problems were reported. It seemed that the devices failed at a much higher rate than many other devices, and reports kept coming in of patients who needed risky and painful revision surgery. In other words, there were huge red flags right out of the gate. The “socket” component of the device was soon discovered to be the main problem leading to the hip failures and the release of metal shavings into the bloodstream of victims. As early as 2007 there were reports in major publications about the concerns about the devices. There is no denying that DePuy knew of these issues for years before the ultimate recall. However, patients kept receiving the product even after these concerns were first raised. Medical professionals that have since reviewed the data available to DePuy admit that the company had ample data indicating problems with the product from the get-go.

Those looking into the matter soon discovered that the DePuy hip defect was likely design-related. That means that there was not some unique error in how the manufacturer took the design and built it, but instead there were problems with the whole idea of the product. In fact, the very surgeon that designed the system admitted that the company was well aware of potential problems in 2008. Sadly, the company again failed to take action to protect those who were still receiving the device from facing the harm. It is likely that money played a role in the company’s decision-making, as the hip replacements were very profitable. DePuy (and its parent company Johnson & Johnson) made more than $5.4 billion in 2009 alone selling the hip. Finally, the evidence of problem mounted so much that the FDA forced the product to be recalled in July of 2010. Following the recall, the company released data where it admitted that up to 13% of all patients who received the device-or upwards of 12,000 patients-may ultimately need revision surgery.

The Chicago DePuy hip attorney at our firm remain shocked by the misconduct of the company involved in these actions. It is vital that all those patients hurt by this dangerous product take action to ensure that their health is not adversely affected. In addition, the law is clear in allowing those harmed by this company’s problematic product to seek legal action to hold them accountable for their misconduct leading to the harm. If you or someone that you know was affected, please visit our office, share your story, and learn how we can help.

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