An Ireland woman is the first in her country to file a lawsuit against the makers of the defective and recalled DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implant.
According to a report from Independent.ie, the Irish national news service, Irene Pierson was the first to have her case against DePuy Orthopaedics International heard before the High Court there. She is expected to be one of hundreds, possibly more than a thousand Irish citizens were implanted with the faulty and recalled DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implant, to seek legal action against its manufacturer.
In her complaint, Pierson claims she entered into a contract with Health Service Executive (HSE, the country’s national healthcare service) to receive a right hip implant in March 2007 and one for her left hip more than a year later, in September 2008. It was not until October 2010 that she learned via letter from the healthcare service that she had been fitted with the DePuy ASR hip implant twice. This news came just more than a month after the makers of the implant issued a worldwide recall on the artificial joints because of widespread reports of its early failures from recipients.
The DePuy ASR hip implant is a metal-on-metal artificial joint that’s been linked to myriad complications and health risks for recipients of the devices. This recall prompted more people like Pierson to seek damages from the manufacturer, especially after they learned the company had the hip implant approved through questionable means and that it did not have any evidence to support that it was safe or effective.
In the U.S., thousands of recipients of the defective DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implant have already filed lawsuits against the company’s American interests, as well as its parent company, Johnson & Johnson. These and other metal-on-metal hip implants were rushed to the market here and elsewhere through the Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) “fast-track” approval system. This allows medical devices to bypass normal regulatory approval procedures, namely pre-market safety testing, to reach the market.
The result has been tens of thousands of people who are relying on potentially faulty hip implants and any number of complications could force them to undergo costly and painful revision surgeries until they eventually must have the entire device replaced.
Metal-on-metal hip implants have been known to cause serious and some potentially life-threatening complications. As the metal parts rub together through ordinary wear, they distribute small metallic fragments into a recipient’s body, affecting surrounding tissue and organs. An accumulation of the metals cobalt and chromium are signs that a hip implant recipient is suffering from metallosis, or metal poisoning. This can lead to organ and tissue damage if the condition goes unchecked for too long.
While they were touted as being able to last longer than traditional hip implants, recipients of the DePuy ASR hip implant have found the opposite true. Within months, a recipient of a defective hip implant will experience severe pain and inflammation at the site of the implant. They may also hear squeaking or popping of their hip implant.
Revision surgeries are performed to correct these complications but are costly and reduce the chance a recipient of a hip implant will ever regain full mobility again. The first scheduled trial against DePuy Orthopaedics in the U.S. is scheduled for early next year.