First DePuy ASR hip implant trial to start Tuesday

Focus this week is on a Los Angeles Superior courtroom as the first lawsuit claiming defects with the DePuy Orthopaedics ASR hip implant led to numerous complications and serious and permanent injuries is set to begin.

According to an update from the court, the trial should start on Jan. 22. The Plaintiffs, Loren and Sheryl Kransky, and Defendants DePuy Orthopaedics (a division of Johnson & Johnson) plan to call numerous witnesses in the trial. Among those to be called are executives with DePuy, doctors, and other health experts. Family members of the Plaintiffs will also be called.

The DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implant was recalled from the market in the late-summer of 2010 after it had been implicated in an inordinate number of reports of complications suffered by its recipients. The ASR hip implant was one of the top-selling hip implants in the class of metal-on-metal hip implants and it is likely that more than 100,000 people received this device during a total hip replacement surgery.

Reports at the time indicated that up to 13 percent of the DePuy ASR hip implants were prone to early failure and would cause recipients to suffer painful and costly complications that often resulted in them having to undergo revision surgeries to correct the problems or to have the device replaced entirely.

Like many other metal-on-metal hip implants, the DePuy ASR is prone to early failure, sometimes just a few months after it has been implanted in a patient. Squeaking and popping at the site of the implant are early signs of trouble in many cases. This is accompanied by severe pain and inflammation and often requires revision procedures to correct the problems.

In addition to those risks, the DePuy ASR –  being a metal-on-metal hip implant device – also puts recipients at risk of suffering metallosis, or metal poisoning, when the component parts of the replacement joint rub together during normal use. This disperses small metallic fragments into a person’s bloodstream and can cause organ and tissue damage, as well as other complications.

The defense used by DePuy in this trial will likely dictate how other lawsuits will be defended. This and the thousands of other lawsuits filed against the company and its defective hip implant will argue that the ASR hip implant has a defective design and that DePuy failed to do pre-market safety testing to guarantee that it was safe and effective as a total hip replacement device.

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