Parker Waichman LLP Continues to Vigorously Fight for the Rights of Victims of Defective Pinnacle Ultamet Hip Replacement System
A British Court received evidence that called into question whether DePuy, the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary which manufactures the Pinnacle Ultamet total hip replacement system, correctly tested the Pinnacle device before sending it to market. The evidence offered in court on behalf of plaintiffs injured by the Pinnacle Ultamet Total Hip Replacement System is another blow to the medical device producer. DePuy and Johnson & Johnson face thousands of personal injury claims in the U.S. and the U.K. Many claims advanced by plaintiffs argue that DePuy’s Pinnacle Ultamet metal-on-metal prosthesis caused them to fall ill due to raised levels of cobalt and chromium in their blood. The defective hip replacement device required the victims to undergo premature surgery to replace the faulty devices.
Parker Waichman LLP is a New York law firm with a nationwide practice who proudly represents victims of defective Pinnacle Ultamet hip replacement devices. Parker Waichman’s medical device defect lawyers have decades of experience fighting for the rights of victims of defective medical devices such as the Pinnacle Ultamet Total Hip Replacement System.
Parker Waichman LLP’s products liability lawyers aggressively pursue financial compensation for their clients against major medical device manufacturers like DePuy and Johnson & Johnson. Although DePuy and Johnson & Johnson are massive and profitable international medical device manufacturers, Parker Waichman’s advocates will face the challenge head-on. Parker Waichman’s medical device attorneys have the knowledge, skill, and resources available to level the playing field for their clients against major medical device producers like DePuy.
Testing Deficiencies Cause Misleading Results
Medical device manufacturers must test their products thoroughly and accurately. DePuy failed to satisfy its obligation when testing the Pinnacle Ultamet Total Hip Replacement System. Ultamet is a metal-on-metal prosthetic hip. DePuy designed Ultamet to last longer than previous designs of prosthetic hips—which were metal-on-plastic designs.
To understand the problem, we must first understand how the human hip works. The human hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The head of the femur, or the top leg bone, is rounded like a ball. The ball fits into a cup-like socket. The natural shape of the joint allows the leg to move freely and swing, with almost 360 degrees of rotation. People need hip replacement surgery when the head of the femur, the ball, wears down the socket. The wear becomes exceedingly painful, as individuals who have had hip replacement surgery well know. An orthopedic surgeon may suggest total hip replacement surgery when the patient believes the pain is intolerable.
A total hip replacement comprises replacing the ball at the head of the femur and inserting a new socket into the boney socket. The original Pinnacle design included a metal ball which replaced the head of the femur and a plastic socket. That design proved ineffective. Physicians noted the metal head wore out the plastic socket. The wear required orthopedists to replace the joint earlier than customarily expected. Premature wear of the plastic socket inspired DePuy to develop the metal-on-metal design.
DePuy’s metal-on-metal design theoretically would last longer than the metal-on-plastic version. However, DePuy’s original round of testing demonstrated that the upgraded version of the Ultamet device would wear down more slowly over time than the metal-on-plastic version. However, DePuy’s metal-on-metal design led to substantial problems for hip replacement recipients.
Doctors have determined that the metal-on-metal Ultamet device causes substantial problems and leads to increased health risks for recipients of the device. This is the evidence a Court in Britain heard recently. A physician testified that DePuy’s methodology of testing the metal-on-metal Ultamet was scientifically incorrect because the company did not clean the device during testing. The testing leads to a buildup of proteins on the ball joint. Protein buildup made the joint move more efficiently. The protein affected the accuracy of the experiment.
The evidence in Court centered around the tests DePuy’s researchers performed. Counsel for the plaintiffs questioned one of DePuy’s supervising physicians about emails the physician exchanged with others within the company. The emails discussed possible solutions as to why the tests showed excessive movement in the joints. The plaintiffs claim that the excessive movement, which DePuy failed to fix before sending the device to market, caused the metal to chip off and enter the patient’s bloodstream. The increased levels of cobalt and chromium entering the patient’s blood made them ill and left them in greater pain than before their initial knee replacement procedure. Furthermore, some plaintiffs needed to have second joint replacement surgery, which is known as “revision surgery.”
DePuy knew about this problem as far back as 1995. Physicians alerted DePuy to the problem, but the company refused to fix it. The metallic ions that entered the patient’s blood were not a trifling amount. DePuy told a U.K. surgeon that his patients had drinking water problems when the surgeon complained to DePuy about his patients having high levels of metals in their blood.
The problems do not stop there. Additional information obtained throughout the court case revealed the extent of knowledge DePuy possessed on the adverse consequences of its artificial hips caused. A 2008 report studying the effects of metal-on-metal hips showed that the metal particles scraping off the implants and entering the blood, muscle, ligaments, and bone around the implant site destroyed the previously healthy flesh and bone. Significantly, DePuy organized that study. Furthermore, DePuy received a letter from a prominent orthopedist who informed the company, in no uncertain terms, that he was losing business because of the failure rate of the hips despite the surgery going well. The doctor informed DePuy that in his opinion the company acted unethically by marketing the metal-on-metal hips implants without fixing the problems inherent in the design.
Potential Damages Available for Victims of DePuy in Ultamet Litigation
Damages vary from case to case. The amount of compensation a plaintiff receives depends on:
- the medical bills accumulated,
- future medical costs,
- lost wages, if any,
- loss of economic potential,
- permanency of injury,
- length of recovery,
- incidental costs,
- pain and suffering,
- loss of quality of life, and
- the wrongful death of the victim if he or she did not survive revision surgery.
The family of the deceased may be eligible for damages for the entirety of the victim’s life depending on the state in which the plaintiff files their claim.
Legal Claims Against DePuy for Injuries Caused by Ultamet
Time is limited to file a claim for damages against DePuy. Typically, most states allow a three-year statute of limitations on personal injury actions but others shorten the time in which you must file a legal claim in court. Your Parker Waichman Ultamet defect lawyer will determine what statute of limitations applies to your claim and will take every step needed to preserve your legal interests.
Parker Waichman LLP is Your Lawyer for Claims Against DePuy
Contact Parker Waichman LLP today at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) or use our contact form to speak with us about your Pinnacle Ultamet metal-on-metal hip replacement injuries. Parker Waichman’s medical device defect lawyers possess superior knowledge, skill, and experience to hold DePuy responsible for your damages.
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