Oregon Lawsuit Claims Wright Conserve Hip Implant Caused Metal Poisoning

A woman in Oregon has filed a federal lawsuit against Wright Medical Technology, Inc. claiming its Conserve metal-on-metal hip implant system caused her to suffer a form of toxic metal blood poisoning known as metallosis. According to her lawsuit, Christine Minton now suffers permanent disability due to the failure of her Wright Conserve hip implant.

Minton received her Wright Conserve hip implant in 2007, only to have it removed in 2009. The revision surgery was prompted by severe and constant pain and suffering, swelling and loss of mobility, her complaint states. Minton’s lawsuit accuses Wright Medical of failing to properly test the Wright Conserve Hip System and of manufacturing and distributing a defective device.

All-metal hip implants are made with an acetabular cup and ball made of chromium and cobalt, which constantly grind against each other as the recipient walks and moves. Over time, dangerous amounts of metal debris may be shed into patients’ bloodstreams. This can lead to tissue damage, premature device failure, the need for revision surgery, and even long-term health problems. Recently, the growing number of problems reported by people with metal-on-metal hip implants caused the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to order Wright and 20 other hip replacement manufacturers to conduct post-market studies of their devices to determine if they were shedding dangerous amounts of metallic debris in patients.

In addition to the Wright Conserve, other metal-on-metal hip implants include DePuy Orthopaedic’s ASR hip implant, which was recalled in August 2010 because of a higher-than-expected early failure rate. Other all-metal hip replacements that have been the subject of complaints include the all-metal version of DePuy’s Pinnacle hip implant system.

On November 29, a plaintiff in another Wright Conserve hip implant lawsuit petitioned the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate all federal lawsuits involving the device in a multidistrict litigation in a single federal court. The petition alleges that since the Conserve hip replacement was approved by the FDA, there have been over 200 adverse event reports submitted to the agency concerning the device.

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