Although Johnson & Johnson alleges that injuries in the first of some 10,000 lawsuits brought over the DePuy Orthopaedics ASR metal-on-metal hip implant device are not related the device’s design, emerging trial evidence is presenting a different picture.
After acknowledging a 12 percent failure rate in five years in UK patients implanted with the ASR, Johnson & Johnson issued a worldwide recall of 93,000 DePuy ASRs in 2010. Recent revision rates have exceeded 40 percent in Australia, based on joint registry data in that country.
Plaintiff, Loren Kransky’s, attorneys said that an expert witness for the device maker miscalculated in his testimony that Kransky’s DePuy ASR hip implant failed due to the angle of implantation, according to a Bloomberg.com report. Evidence presented during trial suggests that J&J executives recalled the metal-on-metal hip implant because it was a defective product that could potentially cause health problems.
Kransky alleges that his DePuy ASR hip implant is defective and caused a number of complications that include high levels of metal ions that led to his undergoing revision surgery. Kransky’s lawyers also said that Avram Edidin, a J&J expert witness, miscalculated when he said that Kransky’s implant failed due to the angle of implantation.
Parker Waichman LLP is commenting on the latest DePuy ASR trial developments just reported by Bloomberg News. “Throughout this trial J&J has continually tried to attribute Kransky’s injuries to other factors,” said Daniel C. Burke, Senior Litigation Counsel at Parker Waichman LLP. “But the evidence strongly suggests that these issues stem from the defects of the ASR, which has become the most notorious metal-on-metal hip implant since its recall.” Parker Waichman LLP advises hip replacement patients—implanted with any device brand—to speak with their surgeons if they experience symptoms such as:
- Difficulty walking, or a change in the ability to walk
- Popping, creaking, or other sounds emanating from the area of the implant
- Metallosis, high levels of metal ions
- Early failure, revision surgery
Bloomberg.com reports that J&J expert witness, Edidin, testified in Los Angeles state court that the ideal angle of implantation is 45 degrees. Edidin, a professor at Drexel University’s School of Biomedical Engineering in Philadelphia, said that Kransky’s implant shed metal ions because it was implanted at an angle between 63 and 65 degrees. On cross-examination, Kransky’s attorneys showed an X-ray of Kransky’s hip that was actually at 57.5 degrees. Edidin did not explain the discrepancy in his measurements.
Throughout the trial, J&J has claimed that Kransky’s injuries were not caused by the defects of the metal-on-metal hip implant; however, Kransky’s lawyers showed Edidin a DePuy document—Health Hazard/Risk Evaluation Executive Review Board—at the time of the recall. Describing the reason for the recall, J&J checked “Class A” for “defective product that would affect product performance and/or could cause health problems.” David Floyd, former president of DePuy, was one of the executives who signed the document.