Closing arguments have begun in the first of some 10,000 lawsuits brought over the DePuy Orthopaedics ASR metal-on-metal hip device that was recalled over two years ago. The case is being heard in Los Angels County Superior Court.
The plaintiff in the case, Loren Kransky, 65, alleges that the defects of his ASR hip implant caused severe complications, which prompted the need for revision surgery to remove and replace the defective DePuy ASR. Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy unit recalled 93,000 ASR hips worldwide due to a high failure rate.
National law firm, Parker Waichman LLP, is informing consumers that, according to The Los Angeles Times, closing arguments for the DePuy ASR trial are set to begin today. Jurors are weighing the lawsuit of Kransky, a retired corrections officer.
“The outcome of this trial will help determine the course of future litigation with the DePuy ASR,” said Daniel C. Burke, Senior Litigation Counsel at Parker Waichman LLP. “Hopefully, jurors will consider the substantial amount of evidence showing that the DePuy ASR’s metal-on-metal design is defective, injuring Mr. Kransky and thousands of others.” Parker Waichman LLP advises hip replacement patients to speak with their surgeons if they experience symptoms such as pain; swelling, 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; or early failure, revision surgery.
At the time of the 2010 recall, Johnson & Johnson cited a failure rate of 12 percent in 5 years. According to an Australian joint registry, failure rates have exceeded 40 percent. Throughout the trial, J&J has consistently claimed that Kransky’s injuries do not stem from the defects of the ASR implant.
Since the ASR recall, there have been mounting safety concerns about metal-on-metal hip implants as a class of medical devices. Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project, told the LA Times that the ASR and other all-metal devices caused serious health problems in thousands of patients. She said that this case highlights the importance of researching a medical device before having it implanted. “Too many patients go in blindly and don’t ask enough questions about the manufacturer or what materials go into these medical devices,” McGiffert said. “They are too trusting of the surgeon.” McGiffert also told the LA Times that this litigation is a reflection of lax regulations that allow such devices onto the market with minimal testing.
Following the outcry over the ASR and other all-metal devices, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now trying to impose stricter regulations for metal hip makers. The agency has proposed that the devices go through pre-market approval, rather than the fast-tracked 510(k) process; the proposed process would require manufacturers to conduct clinical tests for safety and efficacy before obtaining approval.