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Lawsuit Claims DePuy ASR Hip Implant Complications Led to Multiple Surgeries

May 4, 2011 | Parker Waichman LLP

A woman who had to undergo three additional surgeries following two hip replacements has filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopaedics unit, claiming its recalled ASR hip implant failed prematurely.  DePuy recalled its ASR XL Acetabular System and its ASR Hip Resurfacing System last August.  The lawsuit filed by Jane Rogers of Creedmoor, Texas, is just one of roughly 1,000 claims filed so far by alleged victims of the recalled hip implants.

According to The, Rogers had both her hips replaced with DePuy ASR hip implants in 2007 and 2008.  Because of complications, she had one of the hip implants removed in March 2010, while her second DePuy ASR hip replacement was removed a year later.  A third surgery involved the placement of a temporary hip in January. 

Rogers' lawsuit claims DePuy knew as early as 2003 that the ASR hip implants were prone to early failure, based on data from Australia.  The company actually warned doctors via a letter about the high early failure rate in March 2010, but waited until August to issue the recall.

"It just floors me that they would withhold that kind of knowledge," Rogers told the "You have no idea what kind of repercussions you have in the future with the chromium and the cobalt."

Rogers was referring to the risk of cobalt poisoning and metallosis that may be associated with metal-on-metal hip implants like the ASR device.  It is believed that many of the complications linked to the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular hip implant are caused by the wearing of the metal components, which can allow cobalt and chromium shavings to make their way into patients’ bloodstreams. This can cause metallosis, which can result in tissue breakdown, bone loss, and even the formation of non-cancerous tumor.  Over the long-term, cobalt poisoning can put patients at risk of tinnitus (ringing in the ears), vertigo, deafness, blindness, optic nerve atrophy, convulsions, headaches, peripheral neuropathy, cardiomyopathy, and hypothyroidism.

Late last year, all federal DePuy hip implants lawsuits were consolidated in a multidistrict litigation before Judge David A. Katz in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

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