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Pinnacle Metal-on-Metal Hip Lawsuits Continue to Mount

Jan 23, 2013

A woman from Virginia is the latest to claim that her DePuy Orthopaedics Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant is defective and she now faces a lifetime of mental and physical pain as a result.

A lawsuit on her behalf was filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas where it will be combined with other similar claims against the division of pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson. The woman is being represented in her claim by the national law firm of Parker Waichman LLP. The firm is representing a growing number of recipients of this and other metal-on-metal hip implants in lawsuits filed across the country.

In this latest claim, the Virginia woman says she received her DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant during a 2010 procedure. The implant was set on her left hip. After receiving the implant, the woman began experiencing a series of setbacks that all could be traced to defects of her Pinnacle hip implant. The woman has filed for damages for “past, present, and future physical and mental pain and suffering along with past, present, and future medical expenses and lost wages,” according to the Parker Waichman release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.

The DePuy Pinnacle hip implant is available in several versions, one of which uses metal components. The company was able to get the device approved for use through the Food and Drug Administration’s flawed 510(k) “fast-track” approval system. The process allows medical device makers to get their new products to the market without the burden of testing them in a clinical setting prior to their release based on the fact that they’re similar in design to other devices already available.

The woman filing this latest claim, like many others, believes she would have never agreed to have the metal-on-metal version of the Pinnacle hip implanted had she been aware of the many risks associated with it, namely the risk of metal poisoning, metallosis, caused by the metal components rubbing together through normal wear of the implant.

As the metal components come together, they slowly shed tiny metallic particles into a recipient’s bloodstream and to surrounding areas of their body. This can lead to metal poisoning, inflammation, severe pain, a loosening of hip implant, and eventually a total device failure. Metal poisoning can also cause organ and tissue damage. These complications require constant medical treatment and likely will result in costly and painful revision surgeries and eventually a total replacement of the implant.

The lawsuit claims, according to the release, “if the Defendants had conducted clinical safety tests before selling the device, they would have discovered that the Pinnacle leads to metallosis, biological toxicity and an early and high failure rate due to the release of metal particles from the device when the surfaces of the implant rub together.”

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