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Mother of Three Living Nightmare Thanks to Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant

Mar 15, 2012 | Parker Waichman LLP

The real-life problems encountered by an increasing number of Americans and people around the world caused by defective metal-on-metal hip implants like the DePuy Orthopaedics ASR device only add to a growing field of clinical data which puts a citation on those tales.

In a recent report from The Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper, the tale of a state woman and mother-of-three (including twins in college) mirrors that of women and men around the world. According to the source, after receiving the DePuy ASR implant to her right hip in 2008, Terri Wagner-Morley now wonders whether she’ll ever experience a “normal” life again.

Unable to walk or work and growing more obese every day due to her sedentary state, Wagner-Morley is still waiting to have a replacement to ASR hip to be implanted. An infection caused by the now removed ASR hip implant has prevented the Minnesota woman from receiving a proper replacement. When and if she does, she’ll have to endure the surgery to implant it and the months of physical therapy to repair the muscles, bone and joint, and her overall health. It could be months or more than a year of more pain and piling medical bills.

Still, the condition she faces today is better than the fate she could be suffering if she still relied on the DePuy ASR hip but likely not better had she initially received a more traditional hip implant, not the newer metal-on-metal device. The faulty metal-on-metal hip implant was recalled in August 2010 due to its higher-than-average failure rate. Some studies suggest the failure rate on the ASR hip implant could be as high as 30 percent, meaning it will fail its recipient much sooner than expected from traditional hip implant devices. In addition to a link to it causing a toxic build-up of the metals cobalt and chromium in the bloodstream and surrounding tissues and organs, early signs of trouble with the device are pain and inflammation at the site of the implant. This leads to decreased mobility. Infections at the site of the implant are also commonly reported.

In Wagner-Morley's case, it started as many had ... with a "pop" emanating from the joint. She had the ASR hip device implanted in 2008 and a little more than a year later, it was at the point where it needed to be replaced. That "pop" eventually equalled pain and an increasing number of visits to her doctors to assess what was causing the problem. After losing more than 50 pounds during her short-lived success on the new hip, the complications caused by it led her to regain that weight.

Thousands of people across the country have begun filing lawsuits against the makers of metal-on-metal hip implants, specifically the DePuy ASR line of implants, alleging similar problems to the woman detailed in this latest report. The lawsuits allege the makers of metal-on-metal hip implants failed to conduct proper safety testing on the new technology and worked to hide problems linked to them.

The lawsuits seek damages related to injuries suffered as a result of the device as well as the high medical costs caused by problems with the metal hip implants.

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