Injuries allegedly caused by a Zimmer hip implant has led to a $2 million award for a plaintiff in a New Mexico lawsuit. The device is Zimmer’s dual modular hip implant, the M/L Taper Hip Prosthesis with Kinectiv Technology (MLTK) and a cobalt-chromium head.
New Mexico Judge Nan G. Nash ruled that the defective design and insufficient testing of the device was likely the cause of the plaintiff’s injury. The plaintiff experienced metallosis (metal poisoning), allegedly triggered by the Zimmer hip implant.
The award came after a two-week bench trial. “It is never appropriate to design a hip implant system that would create an unreasonable risk of injury to the health or safety of a patient,” wrote Judge Nash regarding the decision.
National law firm Parker Waichman LLP has extensive experience and success in medical device litigation, including allegedly defective hip implants. The firm’s attorneys are available to answer legal questions from individuals seeking information for a potential lawsuit.
Plaintiff’s Zimmer Hip Implant History
In June 2010, the plaintiff was implanted with the MTLK. He had been experiencing pain in his right hip that prevented him from golfing and playing tennis. By May 2011, he suffered from a number of complications and injuries including groin and hip pain, and a loss of flexibility. In October and November of 2011, he had to undergo two surgeries to treat these issues. At that time, the cobalt-chromium head was surgically replaced with a ceramic one. In December 2016, the plaintiff filed his lawsuit in the Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque.
On March 31, Judge Nash issued her 27-page decision, remarking that the plaintiff will probably have to endure further procedures for his hip implant injury. The Judge wrote that the ordeal has forced the plaintiff to a permanent course of antibiotics, an end to golf and tennis, and a reasonable likelihood of a recurrent infection. “It is more probable than not that Plaintiff will need a third, more complicated revision surgery in the future,” Judge Nash wrote.
“This surgery will cost approximately $250,000 and will involve removal of all of the implant components for a period of 2-3 months to try and kill the infection, during which Plaintiff will be wheelchair bound. If the infection can be successfully eradicated, another hip prosthesis will be implanted, necessitating the same type of physical therapy and recovery period as the first two revision surgeries.”
“In designing the MLTK, Defendants knew that the use of dissimilar metals can result in a higher potential for corrosion and that wear debris from a junction of two dissimilar metals had been documented to be toxic and harmful to the human body.”
Judge Nash instructed Zimmer to pay $2.027 million. The award consisted of $1 million for past and future pain and suffering, $480,000 for loss of enjoyment of life, and the remainder for medical bills and other related expenses.
Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Complications
Metal-on-metal hip implants have triggered a tremendous number of litigations in the United States. The primary problem is that the metal parts can release metal debris into the bloodstream and local tissue, causing metal poisoning, necrosis (cell death), severe inflammation, and other complications. Hip implants are expected to last a minimum of ten years. However, sometimes, patients with metal-on-metal hip implants have to undergo revision surgery within only a few years of implantation to treat injuries.
In metal-on-metal hip implants, the metal ball and the metal cup slide against each other during walking or running. Metal can also be released from other parts of the implant where two implant components connect. Metal release will cause some tiny metal particles to wear off of the device around the implant, which may cause damage to bone and/or soft tissue surrounding the implant and joint. This is sometimes referred to as an adverse local tissue reaction (ALTR) or an adverse reaction to metal debris (ARMD).
Zimmer is also involved in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in New Jersey. U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton is the presiding judge. According to court records, there are approximately 466 lawsuits in the MDL.
An MDL is frequently created when complex cases that are similar are consolidated to streamline the process to take place in one court under one judge. This typically results in lower court costs, the elimination of duplicate discovery, a faster outcome, and is generally more efficient.
Have You Been Injured by a Zimmer Hip Implant Device?
If you or someone you know has sustained injury involving a Zimmer hip implant, you may be eligible for valuable compensation. Parker Waichman personal injury law firm offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).