Medical Negligence News

Faulty Hip Devices Means Unnecessary Surgery for Victims

Posted on: January 30th, 2012 by Medical Negligence

Following the recall of the DePuy ASR hip replacement systems in August 2010, new advice is soon to be issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) regarding the faulty hip devices. Unnecessary surgery for victims is already taking place, but fears concerning “system toxicity” may cause many more people to have blood tests to check against the presence of cobalt and chromium, resulting in a greater number of victims to undergo revision surgery – even if their metal on metal hip replacement system is still functioning properly.

This new development in the DePuy faulty metal on metal hip device recall has alarmed experts who believe that many people could remain unwittingly at risk. Professor Joe Dias – president of the British Orthopaedic Association – is one of the medical experts concerned that only 41 per cent of patients who received the DePuy faulty hip devices are registered as having received the recommended annual checks. Although many people may have undergone x-rays and blood tests without their details being centrally logged, he fears that some recipients of the faulty hip devices may never have been contacted and might believe that they are not at risk because there are no physical signs of their hip replacement system failing.

Stephen Cannon, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon for the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, has also reported that microscopic metallic particles – produced by friction occurring between the metal ball and cup of the implant – can cause damage to the bone structure surrounding the implant and tissue necrosis; making revision surgery all the more complicated and painful. He believes that the faulty hip devices mean unnecessary surgery for victims because of their component material as well as their faulty design.

More than 40,000 people are known to be recipients of metal on metal hip replacement systems in the UK, with an estimated 10,000 receiving the faulty DePuy hip replacement systems. Product liability compensation claims are already beginning to accumulate against the manufacturer following the hip device recall in August 2010 but, with the potential that many of DePuy´s victims are also suffering from system toxicity, compensation for faulty hip devices could be far greater than was originally anticipated.

Medical negligence solicitors, keen to get their clients a quick and satisfactory resolution to their faulty hip device compensation claims, will point to a recent conference of senior surgeons in which the situation in relation to metal on metal hip replacements was described as “frightening”. The senior surgeons went onto say that the number of cases they were now seeing of patients suffering tissue reactions attributable to faulty hip devices represented a “component failure of catastrophic proportions”.

Although it is not known exactly what advice will be administered by the MHRA, or when, hopes are that more resources are directed towards contacting those who have not yet been checked for the presence of cobalt and chromium in their blood. Provided that any blood disorders are attributable to the faulty hip devices, unnecessary surgery compensation claims may also be able to be filed against DePuy Orthopaedics in addition to those for product liability and medical negligence.