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When: Feb 20, 12
Who: Staff

In August, 2010 DePuy Orthopaedics Inc announced a worldwide recall of two of its hip implant products namely the DePuy ASR™ XL Acetabular System and the DePuy ASR™ Hip Resurfacing System. The recall was prompted by the alarming number of complaints from patients who had received these devices and by the higher than normal rate of replacement or revision surgery needed within five years of receiving the DePuy ASR™ implant system. Information from the National Joint Registry in England and Wales indicated that rates of failure of the devices within five years were 12% for the ASR™ Hip Resurfacing System and 13% for the ASR™ XL Acetabular System. These rates compare to a normal revision rate of between 3 and 6% which was previously recorded by the National Joint Registry. Unfortunately, as time has passed it is now being reported by the British Orthopaedic Association and the British Hip Society that the statistical data shows the rate of replacement surgeries ranging from 21% after four years to 49% after six years.

Symptoms:-
Patients who reported problems in the first five years complained of a number of symptoms namely; pain, swelling and problems walking. The metal-on-metal component parts of the implants wear over time causing small particles of cobalt, chromium and molybdenum to enter the body. Excessive levels of these metals in the body can lead to metalosis which is an inflammatory reaction to the elevated metals in the tissue and the blood.

The two hip implant products at the centre of the recall were first used in July 2003. DePuy does not maintain a list of patients who received an ASR™ device. Therefore if you received a hip implant since July 2003 you should contact your surgeon or the hospital where you underwent the procedure to confirm whether you received one of these defective devices. The HSE advises that there are approximately 3,500 people in Ireland who received these hip implants. All of these people should, by now, have received correspondence advising if they received a DePuy ASR™ system and should have been seen by their orthopaedic surgeon or hospital to undergo tests in relation to their hip implant.

Procedure:-
If you received an ASR™ hip implant you will undergo blood tests to determine the levels of metal ions in your system as this may be an indicator of failure of the implant if the metal ion readings are higher than normal. You will also have to have x-rays as these will help your surgeon to assess the positioning of the hip implant.

Even patients who are asymptomatic should ensure that they attend for all of the necessary tests to include blood tests, repeat blood tests, x-rays and/or MRI scans and/or ultrasound scans. Patients who are asymptomatic may still have received a defective implant and may face the prospect of undergoing replacement/revision surgery in the future. Revision surgery is much more complicated than the original surgery as the Surgeons have to extract the original metal-on-metal device, they have less bone to work with and they also have to deal with scar tissue.

Legal issues:-
If you received one of the hip implants referred to above it is vital that you obtain legal advice at the earliest opportunity as there are strict legal time limits known as the Statute of Limitations which must be assessed on a case by case basis by an experienced litigation solicitor.

If you do not take action within the limitation period applicable you may find yourself precluded entirely from bringing a case.

You may be entitled to bring legal proceedings in respect of negligence, breach of contract and under the Liability for Defective Products Act. You may be entitled to damages for pain and suffering as a result of receiving a defective medical device. You may also be entitled to claim for past and future medical expenses, past and future loss of earnings; childcare and other out of pocket expenses.

Kieran McCarthy & Co. acts for a number of people who received DePuy’s ASR™ hip implants.

If you have been affected by the DePuy hip implant recall and you have any query in relation to this matter you can contact us at info@kmcc.ie

Please see our Blog for up to date information on developments in this area.  You can also follow us on twitter @kieranmccarthys and by clicking on the twitter icon below.

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Kieran McCarthy & Co. Solicitors
Floor 3B, 6 Lapps Quay, Cork.
t: 021 427 5220 | f: 021 427 5250

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