• Three Quarters of Complaints Reviewed Are DePuy ASR Failures
  • August 25, 2011
  • Law Firm: Lieff Cabraser Heimann Bernstein LLP - San Francisco Office
  • According to The New York Times, mounting hip replacement complaints since January 2011 confirm that all-metal replacement hips are on a trajectory to become the biggest and most costly medical implant problem since Medtronic recalled a widely used heart device component in 2007.

    The Times reports:

    One of the most problematic devices, the A.S.R., or Articular Surface Replacement, was recalled last year by Johnson & Johnson and accounted for 75 percent of the complaints reviewed by The Times.

    As problems and questions grow, most surgeons are abandoning the all-metal hips, saying they are unwilling to expose new patients to potential dangers when safer alternatives — mainly replacements that combine metal and plastic components — are available. Some researchers also fear that many all-metal hips suffer from a generic flaw. Current use of all metal devices has plummeted to about 5 percent of the market.

    “It is like playing Russian roulette,” said Dr. Geoffrey H. Westrich, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, who has stopped using all-metal implants.

    For some, the failure of their DePuy artificial hip implant has been a life-changing event.  The implants can release small particles of metal debris into patients' bloodstreams, causing debilitating injuries. Annie O’Neill of Gardiner, New York, a client of Lieff Cabraser, commented, "The DePuy implant fiasco altered my life significantly.  I went from an active, flexible, and tireless outdoor hiker, rock climber and nature enthusiast to a cautious, careful walker using hiking sticks to negotiate any surface or grade.  I could no longer do the activities that gave me so much pleasure."