A DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuit was recently filed by seven Rochester, New York residents who say they were forced to undergo revision surgery after their ASR hip failed prematurely. The DePuy ASR hip implant was recalled in August, but the Rochester lawsuit claims DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson, knew the implant was prone to complications years prior to the recall.
Ronald Nigro, one of the plaintiffs, told the Penfield Post that he underwent revision surgery in October, after the DePuy ASR hip implant he received in February 2009 failed. After experiencing problems, tests revealed he had high levels of chromium and cobalt in his blood, a sign that friction between the ball and socket of the all-metal DePuy ASR hip implant was causing microscopic metal debris to enter his bloodstream. This caused Nigro to experience severe inflammation that made it difficult to walk or stand up. Even though he has undergone corrective surgery, Nigro told the Penfield Post that he still cannot walk for long without suffering pain.
As we’ve reported previously, by 2008, roughly three years after it came on the market, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had received around 300 complaints about the DePuy ASR hip implant, most involving early failures that required revision surgeries. But it wasn’t until March 2010 that DePuy warned doctors in a letter that data from Australia suggested that the ASR had a higher-than-expected failure rate when used in traditional hip replacement on certain types of patient. According to the letter, patients of small stature, a group that typically includes women and patients with weak bones, faced the highest risk.
Finally, DePuy issued the worldwide August recall for the ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System after data from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales showed that 1 out of every 8 patients (12%-13%) who had received the devices had to undergo revision surgery within five years of receiving it. By then, more than 93,000 patients worldwide were fitted with an ASR hip implant. It is believed that roughly a third of those were patients in the U.S.
Since the DePuy ASR hip implant recall was issued in August, the device maker has been named in scores of product liability lawsuits. 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.