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Former Swimmer Claims DePuy ASR Hip Implant Compromised Her Quality of Life

Jun 28, 2011 | Parker Waichman LLP

DePuy Orthopaedics faces another lawsuit over its ASR Hip Resurfacing System.  On Tuesday, Charlotte Mustard filed a suit in a U.S. federal court against the company alleging the implant caused her to suffer various injuries.  The ASR Hip Resurfacing System is a metal-on-metal hip implant made of chromium and cobalt often used in total hip replacements.

In January 2008, Mrs. Mustard underwent hip replacement surgery using the DePuy ASR hip implant device while living in the United Kingdom.  Prior to surgery, Mrs. Mustard, who now lives in the U.S., was told the implant would last 20 years and that the metal-on-metal design was superior to other devices available on the market.  However, the ASR hip implant did not live up to this claim because after implantation, Mrs. Mustard suffered from severe and debilitating injuries, such as hip pain, stiffness, twinges, heart palpitations and vision problems. 

She alleges the ASR hip implant compromised “her quality of life.” As a result of the surgery, Mrs. Mustard, a well-known athlete and former world record holder, is physically unable to participate in competitive swimming, says the complaint.

“The testing of the ASR system was completely inadequate.  The design of the ASR was fundamentally flawed…” said Mrs. Mustard’s attorney. 

In August 2010, DePuy issued a worldwide recall of its ASR Hip Resurfacing System and DePuy ASR Acetabular System after the National Joint Registry of England and Wales reported 1 out of 8 implant patients (12%-13%) required revision surgery.  Since the ASR hip implant systems were recalled, more than 1,000 lawsuits have been filed against DePuy Orthopaedics and its parent, Johnson & Johnson.  Hundreds of such claims have been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

DePuy is also facing numerous U.S. lawsuits over its Pinnacle hip implant device, another all-metal hip implant device, which plaintiffs claim is similar in design to the ASR implants and poses many of the same problems. Last month, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated at least 57 product liability lawsuits over the Pinnacle device.  Like those who have filed suit over the ASR implants,  plaintiffs in the DePuy Pinnacle lawsuits claim the device is defective and causes metal particles to shed when the components rub together, thus making the implants prone to early failure. 

In May, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an order for DePuy and 20 other companies that produce metal-on-metal hip implants to conduct studies of implant recipients to determine whether the devices were shedding high level of metallic debris.  The agency’s action was in response to thousands of consumer complaints that such implants were defective and posed risk of early failure.

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