Defense expert witnesses have been offering their testimony in week 10 of the bellwether trial involving the DePuy Orthopaedics Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant.
The plaintiffs in the case allege the Pinnacle hip device caused painful complications. They have experienced difficulty standing or walking; loosening of the hip implant; pain that spreads to the groin and/or back; tissue death; soft tissue damage; and metal poisoning.
Metal-on-metal hips implants like the DePuy Pinnacle hip are associated with high rates of failure and complications, leaving many recipients in need of additional surgery to remove and replace the failed implant. In 2010, DePuy recalled a similar hip, the ASR, and in 2013 the company set up a settlement program to resolve lawsuits filed by ASR recipients.
A number of expert witnesses have testified. Dr. Bernard Morrey, an implant surgeon who has taught at the Mayo Clinic for over 30 years, testified that he has never used metal-on-metal hip implants for his patients. Defense witness Dr. Edward Boyer, an emergency room doctor and medical toxicologist, was called to address cobalt/chromium toxicity exposure to ions and carcinogenicity. His compensation is reportedly $600 an hour.
The latest witnesses include Timothy Ulatowski, an FDA regulatory consultant who spent 37 years at FDA (1974 – 2011). He was accepted as an FDA expert in the regulation of medical devices. Dr. William Griffin, an orthopedic surgeon on the DePuy design team also testified. Dr. Thomas Fehring, another DePuy design surgeon, testified via video deposition. Dr. Roger Emerson, an orthopedic surgeon hired by DePuy to examine the five plaintiffs in the case, will be next to testify.