Fri

12

Oct

2012

DePuy ASR MCL: Latest State Court Trials

 

Currently, more than 400 lawsuits against the DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. are pending in Bergen County Superior Court under Judge Brian R. Martinotti. Local court rules call this a “multicounty litigation” (MCL). This is primarily because Johnson & Johnson, DePuy's parent company, is headquartered in New Jersey.

 

Similar to a multidistrict litigation (MDL), in MCL the court also directs the parties to choose a number of cases to serve as bellwethers for the remaining plaintiffs’ cases. According to reports, these New Jersey MCL bellwether trials are the newest state court trials that have been scheduled. These follow the Maryland state court trials that will start in January 2013, and the federal bellwether trials that should start in May 2013.

 

 

Sat

28

Jul

2012

What is a Total Hip Replacement

Total hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which the severely damaged hip is replaced with a synthetic joint. But DePuy hip recall symptoms have been the subject of reports about hip replacement issues which made Johnson & Johnson recall its ASR XL Acetabular Hip System and ASR Hip Resurfacing System. On a similar note, after Food and Drug Administration (FDA) committee meeting, DePuy stands up for metal-on-metal hip replacements.


Pain is the primary warning sign that suggests hip replacement. Surgeons and physicians, as were shown in the2006 study, both establish that the most indicative manifestationfor surgery is pain, especially rest pain, and impairment of daily function, including walking, climbing stairs and rising from a sitting position. A patient complains of pain on the hips and normally consults a physician, who may not be an orthopedic surgeon. Furthermore, the patients will be advised to have physical therapy sessions and be prescribed with appropriate medications to address the problem. Replacement is generally considered after pain becomes severe that it hinders normal routine despite the physical therapy and medications prescribed.


Total hip replacement reduces the feeling of pain and functional disability of patient suffering from hip problems, thus improving their lives. It is usually used as management of patients with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and femoral neck fractures. It has been considered as one of the most successful and cost-effective interventions in medicine.

 

Improvement of mobility, relieving of pain and enhancing the overall quality of life are the primary goals of the surgery. After the procedure, the patient is to undergo a rehabilitation phase with a licensed physical therapist and will still be under medication. The patient’s mobility will be limited to some extent, such that he or she can’t bend his hip for more than 90 degrees and he can’t cross his legs. These precautions aim to decrease the risk of implant dislocation and reduce hip flexion. After successful surgery and rehabilitation, the patient may expect a hip that is free or almost free of pain, has good motion, is stable and permits normal or near-normal ambulation.

 

Total hip replacement is not directly advised for patients having complains of pain on their hip. They are first given prescription drugs and are advised to see a physical therapist. Surgery will be recommended after a careful assessment and if pain score is increasing to the point that the patient can no longer perform his normal daily functions. The patient will know the end result and complications of the surgery before he agrees to proceed with the procedure. Affected patients of the recalled DePuy devices have been pursuing  DePuy hip replacement lawsuit.

 

References:

 

  • medicinenet.com/total_hip_replacement/article.htm
  • orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00377
  • emedicinehealth.com/total_hip_replacement/article_em.htm

 

Sat

21

Jul

2012

Quick Discussion on Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant

Metal-on-metal hipreplacement is a device composed of metal from the shell, stem and ball. It is more suitable for younger and physically active individuals because the durability of the metal implant may last for years. With MoM implants, greater range-of-motion is possible alongside decreased chances of dislocation because of its larger femoral heads. An example of MoM is the recalled hip replacement system manufactured by DePuy Orthoapedics Inc. Now, U.K. patients file lawsuits against DePuy, according to reports. According to the New York Times, DePuy sold the ASR XL Acetabular System overseas even though it failed to gain approval to do so in the United States. 


Approximately 39,200 metal-on-metal hip replacements were performed in 2005-2006, according to the Nationwide Implant Sample Database. This metal-on-metal implants are evaluated and tested for compatibility components by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) program.


Despite the low wear rates, the long-term frictional release of cobalt or chromium ions from the joint into the body is a concern. The concentration of this ions in the body increases overtime which may eventually end up in metallosis. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery presented a case report about the complaints of two clients who manifested adverse effects after receiving metal-on-metal hip replacements. Symptoms of cobalt toxicity after implantation of the device were seen on the patients.

 

There is no universal agreement among experts as for the perfect hip implant. It is important for a potential recipient to undergo a thorough assessment and evaluation with a health care provider and discuss the pros and cons of each hip device. A metal-on-metal hip implant has both advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is important that patients consult their health care providers. The likelihood of developing untoward effects like a DePuy hip replacement recall will be lessened, if not totally eradicated.

References:
  • bbc.co.uk/news/health-17337993
  • cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57396125-10391704/metal-on-metal-hip-implants-no-reason-to-take-risk-study-warns/
  • nytimes.com/2012/03/14/business/british-experts-want-doctors-to-stop-using-metal-on-metal-hips.html?_r=1

 

Thu

03

May

2012

Doctors Being Paid by Johnson & Johnson to Get Access to Patient Records

In conjunction with the initiation of a DePuy hip replacement recall, the company issued “guides” meant for both surgeons and hip replacement recipients. The guide released to the recipients attempts to reassure them that the company will make amends for the damages and harm done by the defective devices. According to the guide, DePuy promises to compensate patients for what they consider “reasonable” treatment and testing costs under the premise that these patients will use DePuy’s toll-free, non-confidential “help line” to start filing a claim with the company.

In contrast to this, the guide released to the surgeons is not meant to reassure anyone, but contains specific instructions for the surgeons that will potentially benefit the company. A consent form is included in the guide meant for the surgeons to give to their patients that had received the defective implant so that they may sign the form to be returned to DePuy. Patients that consent to sign the form are then legally required to perform the following tasks:

 

  1. Provide DePuy with all the medical records and x-rays associated with their hip replacement surgeries, including doctor’s orders to records of succeeding follow-up visits.
  2. Submit the DePuy ASR device extracted during correctional surgery to DePuy
  3. Allow DePuy to gather any information for thorough analysis


To make matters worse, the surgeons’ guide also includes an offer to pay the surgeon $50 for each completed release submitted to DePuy on behalf of their patients.


Within the surgeons’ guide, the consent form and the payment incentive are two disturbing components that raise a few concerns. The first concern is regarding the intentions of DePuy and its parent company with how they will utilize this information. It is believed that DePuy plans on making the case that they could not be held liable for damages due to device failure if medical records show that the patient did not follow doctor’s orders exactly after surgery. Secondly, the paying off of doctors for patient release forms should be in clear violation of doctor-patient confidentiality.

 

Doctors are receiving money to give DePuy access to patients’ medical records which may be used against them in court. Patients suffering from the defective hip replacements should seek an experienced attorney handling these types of cases to get the protection and compensation they deserve. Information about ongoing litigation can be found on the DePuy hip recall website.

 

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