An Arizona woman has filed a lawsuit over metal poisoning she alleges was caused by a DePuy Pinnacle hip implant she received in 2007. She is suing DePuy Orthopaedics and its parent company Johnson & Johnson.
In her lawsuit, the woman alleges that the Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System implant she received in May 2007 released toxic metal particles into her bloodstream and the tissue surrounding the implant and as a result suffered severe pain and inflammation, bone and tissue loss, a large cystic fluid collection, and elevated cobalt and chromium levels in her blood. She had to undergo revision surgery to remove and replace the implant. The lawsuit alleges that the failed Pinnacle hip caused these injuries and that DePuy and Johnson & Johnson were aware of the Pinnacle hip’s defects, but did not warn patients or their doctors, despite being aware of more than 1,300 adverse event reports involving the Pinnacle hip submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The DePuy Pinnacle hip – a device implanted to reconstruct a hip joint that has deteriorated because of injury or a degenerative condition – is a metal-on-metal hip, in which a metal ball rotates in a metal cup, mimicking the action of a natural hip. But, according to the legal complaint, this hip design is faulty and the device releases toxic metal particles into the body when the metal surfaces rub together.
Health regulators in many countries have initiated regulatory actions over metal-on-metal hips in light of alarming numbers of reports of device failure, injuries, and health problems. Numerous lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers of metal-on-metal hips. Last year the FDA issued new guidelines for patients with all-metal hips, recommending physical exams, diagnostic imaging, and metal testing.
The lawsuit was filed on December 16, 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas (Case 3:13-cv-04892-K, MDL No. 3:11-md-02244) by Parker Waichman LLP.