As the first trial over the metal-on-metal version of the Pinnacle hip implant is underway, the number of lawsuits filed in Texas is almost 7,000. There are 6,849 Pinnacle lawsuits filed in the Dallas Division of the Northern District of Texas as of September 30th, according to court documents. U.S. District Judge James E. Kinkeade is overseeing the multidistrict litigation (MDL).
The trial is considering a lawsuit filed on behalf of a 58-year old Montana woman. She was implanted with a Pinnacle hip implant on her right side in September 2006 and one on her left side in April 2007. In 2010, she underwent her first surgery due to complications from the device. Additional procedures have been performed since, the suit says.
When surgeons removed the woman’s left hip implant, they discovered that metallosis had caused the hip to turn black, the suit alleges. She also suffered from elevated levels of cobalt in the blood, allegedly as a result of the Pinnacle’s defective nature.
The suits allege that DePuy Orthopedics, a Johnson & Johnson unit, failed to warn that the metal-on-metal version of the Pinnacle hip implant is defective and can lead to serious injuries. The device allegedly releases chromium and cobalt particles into the patient’s bloodstream, leading to serious complications such as metal poisoning and constant pain. In some cases, complications forced the patient to undergo a revision surgery to remove the device.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned last January that metal-on-metal hips had a higher failure rate compared to other types of implants. DePuy and parent company J&J announced that they would no longer sell all-metal hip implants, including those related to the Pinnacle, in May 2013.