If you look at the human body, you will immediately see that the hip is what bisects the torso from the legs. The hip is crucial for the normal performance of the most mundane activities such as walking, sitting, bending and simply standing. When the hip is damaged due to rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, severe fracture or tumors, these movements become painful and difficult. The most common way to alleviate the pain and discomfort is with a replacement hip which, while not as good as the original, is definitely better than nothing. But when a replacement hip is defective and breaks down prematurely, it is not only useless, it can be downright dangerous.
This was the case of the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular metal-on-metal hip replacement system, which was finally recalled in August 24, 2010, five years after it was first introduced in the market, and two years after the first complaints started coming in to the Food and Drug Administration. The delay in the recall is due to the staunch denial of Johnson & Johnson, which acquired DePuy in 1998 as part of its Medical Devices & Diagnostics group, that the ASR XL was defective. It wasn’t until the first lawsuit was filed in June 2010 that the pressure was on to continue denying the product’s potential for harm due to its significantly higher-than-average failure rate or to finally order a recall of the product which had been implanted in 93,000 patients.
Hip replacements which have broken down needs to be replaced, a procedure called “revision.” While it is expected that replacement parts will have to be replaced after a period of time, the average life span of a hip replacement is 10 years. The ASR XL failed after four years in 37% of the patients, who would then need revision surgery. Aside from the pain, inconvenience and loss of income due to revision surgery and subsequent postoperative recovery, the failing DePuy ASR XL system, which is made of cobalt and chromium, may have possibly shed metal fragments into the bloodstream. This can have serious and long-term health consequences for the patient. In the case of nurse Carol Strum, there is evidence of metal debris in her bloodstream and blackening of the tissues surrounding the hip.
If you or some you know has ever had a hip replaced with the ASR XL, you may be a candidate for revision surgery. Consult with a personal injury lawyer and find out more about the multidistrict litigation now being formed in Ohio by those seeking to file a DePuy lawsuit.
For your safety information, here is a list of recently FDA approved medical devices: Medical Devices Cleared or Approved by FDA in 2013