Australians File DePuy Hip Implant Class Action Lawsuit

The <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/DePuy-Hip-Implant-Recall-Johnson-and-Johnson">DePuy ASR Acetabular Hip Replacement System, the defective hip implant device recalled last August, has been making global news, including in Australia for severe pain, device failure, the need for painful and complicated revision surgery, and illness linked to metal toxicity. Now, 20 Tasmanians have filed a federal class action lawsuit against DePuy Orthopaedics, a unit of Johnson & Johnson. The Mercury reports that some 5500 Australians likely received the defective device in the past 10 years.

A metal-on-metal device made of chromium and cobalt, the DePuy ASR Hip Implant System consists of a cup implanted into the hip with a ball joint that connects to the leg. In the United States, many of the nation’s leading orthopedic surgeons have reduced or stopped use of these devices because of concerns that they can cause severe tissue and bone damage.

Regarding this case, according to The Mercury, one patient, Ms. Stanford, 40, of Howrah, underwent three hip operations since 2005 when she was implanted with the DePuy device. The most recent surgery this year, showed that her hip joint had become inflamed and the tissue around the joint and bone was degenerated, said The Mercury.

“There was a lot of wear and tear on my body and he [her surgeon] actually described what he had to scrape as a black tar, gunky substance and the images of that were just terrifying, thinking I had that inside me,” she said, quoted The Mercury. Stories similar to this are becoming commonplace from patients who must undergo revision surgery to remove the defective device for implantation with a different hip replacement.

We recently wrote that one patient told ABC Four Corners that the cobalt from his defective DePuy hip eroded his thighbone—the area of his implant—and said his surgeon described the area in which the now-removed joint had been implanted saying, “My flesh had turned a grey black around the hip area.” The patient said that his physician said that the bone, “looked like a sewer pipe and was full of a sludgy grey material.” The patient reported tinnitus and vision problems he blames on cobalt poisoning. A different patient said she received a cobalt blood reading 50 times higher than the acceptable limit and that she suffered for years with “inexplicable serious illness” prior to the removal of the defective implant, said Four Corners.

The Mercury also pointed out that another two Australian patients will be represented by lawyers in that country for a class action in the U.S. on behalf of 100 additional patients from Australia who have had various problems linked to the defective DePuy devices.

It is believed that many of the complications linked to the DePuy ASR implant and similar metal-on-metal devices are caused by wearing of their metal components, which can allow metal shavings to make their way into patients’ bloodstreams, leading to tissue breakdown, bone loss, the formation of non-cancerous tumors, and even cobalt poisoning. Many victims of the DePuy ASR hip implant have tested with elevated metal ion levels in their blood. Many of these victims could face long-term health problems if their metal poisoning is left untreated.

According to one English researcher, said Four Corners, the DePuy debacle is “perhaps the biggest disaster in the history of orthopaedics.”

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