Faulty DePuy hip replacements: no need to suffer
The news that thousands of hip replacement patients
might need their operations reversed due to faulty DePuy implants
has naturally been greeted with alarm.
However, legal experts have stressed that no patient need suffer unduly, and that many will be entitled to claim compensation
from the implants' manufacturers.
Patients in receipt of the DePuy ASR metal-on-metal (MoM) hip implants
reported severe pain after deterioration of the implants' metal fittings
caused cobalt and chromium to enter the bloodstream.
Presence in the blood of these toxic heavy metals
can lead to leukaemia and other cancers.
More than 1,000 people have already had their hip replacement operations reversed, while over 10,000 patients have been asked to return to hospital for reviews of their surgery.
In 2010, a product recall for DePuy ASR was issued by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Under the terms of the recall, surgeons were instructed not to use DePuy ASR hip replacements and return any unused units to the manufacturer.
The faulty units mean the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson, which owns DePuy, faces significant legal claims, with some affected patients preparing a class action which could cost the firm £350 million.
Warren Collins of Simpson Millar LLP, a solicitors' firm which specialises in cases of medical negligence and defective product claims is already handling such cases, notes that while some patients with DePuy ASRs have received letters advising them what type of replacement hip was implanted, others may be none the wiser.
"Whether you have received this notification or not, you should get in touch with a law firm which has experience with failings in medical devices," said Mr Collins. "It's very possible that you will be entitled to claim compensation for your faulty DePuy Hip Replacement Unit
"If you have noticed any of the symptoms associated with faulty DePuy ASRs, such as severe pain, swelling and bone fracture at the implant site, fatigue, hip dislocation, skin rash, difficulty walking, metallic crunching sounds and inflamed tissue, it’s important that you contact your surgeon or GP without delay."
Mr Collins added that all hip replacement patients should be given records of the type of implant unit they received.
"Surgeons should assess the levels of metal in the blood of everyone with a DePuy ASR hip replacement who is in pain. They also need to examine the soft tissue for reactions and if necessary consider the removal and replacement of the implant."