The first Connecticut lawsuit against the maker of the recalled, defective DePuy ASR hip implant has been filed. Patricia Sorrentino-Galello underwent a second hip replacement just three years after her original surgery at Milford Hospital, the CT Post reports.
Revision surgeries are painful and more complex than original surgeries because of issues that include working with reduced bone surface area. In this case, there were added difficulties because Sorrentino-Galello’s body fused to the DePuy implant, said the CT Post.
The DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuit names DePuy Orthopaedics; DePuy’s parent company, Johnson & Johnson; and the Milford Hospital as defendants, said the CT Post. The lawsuit alleges that on September 11, 2006, Dr. John Irving installed the defective DePuy device to the patient’s right hip at Milford Hospital. Three years later, the right hip became infected, said the CT Post. Also, high concentrations of metal from the defective implant were found in Sorrentino-Galello’s blood. In January 2010, Dr. Irving removed the defective DePuy implant, replacing it with a different implant, added the CT Post.
Most recently, we wrote that the issue with premature failures of the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System were occurring earlier than originally described. DePuy Orthopedics issued recalls for the ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System last August. At that time, DePuy said data from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales indicated that 1 out of every 8 patients (12%-13%) required revision surgery within five years of receiving the defective devices. But, according to a Bloomberg report, doctors in the United Kingdom (U.K.) are seeing early failure rates closer to 50 percent.
A statement issued by the British Orthopaedic Association and British Hip Society said data from four surgeons indicated that the rate of revision surgeries in patients who received the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System ranges from 21 percent after four years to 49 percent after six years and that the 21 percent revision rate could rise to 35 percent “if all currently known painful implants progress to revision,” Bloomberg said.
The ASR Hip Implant System is a metal-on-metal hip implant made of chromium and cobalt, consisting of a cup implanted into the hip with a ball joint connecting to the leg. It is believed that many complications linked to the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular hip implant are caused by wearing of the metal components, which can shed metal shavings into patients’ bloodstreams, leading to tissue breakdown, bone loss, and even the formation of non-cancerous tumors. The shedding can cause cobalt poisoning, that, when left untreated, can lead to tinnitus, vertigo, deafness, blindness, optic nerve atrophy, convulsions, headaches, peripheral neuropathy, cardiomyopathy, and hypothyroidism.
DePuy has been named in scores of product liability lawsuits and, late last year, all federal DePuy hip implants lawsuits were consolidated in a multidistrict litigation before Judge David A. Katz in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. According to Bloomberg, over 350 lawsuits were consolidated in the MDL, more than 220 more are pending in California state court, and another group is pending in New Jersey state court. Most recently, cases have begun to also be filed in Australia, in addition to the U.S. and U.K.