Popular hip replacement brand recalled for clinical reasons

Hip replacement products and the required accompanying surgery have become quite common among older adults who still want normal and active lifestyles. Unfortunately, a manufacturer of a popular prosthetic hip is in the middle of a legal battle because of their line of hip surgery products.

The president of one of the world’s largest health product conglomerates testified recently that the company’s decision to recall a hip implant product line in 2010 was based on the product’s failure to meet certain standards and clinical expectations. This statement came after three days of deliberations in a Chicago products liability lawsuit where a 54-year-old woman sued the company, claiming that her hip replacement was defective.

The Illinois nurse had the all-metal prosthetic hip implanted in 2008 and had a revision surgery three years later to have it replaced. Her lawsuit is the second one to go to trial in over 10,000 filed against the company; all of the lawsuits cited defects as the reason for the suit. A jury in a related lawsuit in Los Angeles last week found the prosthetic hip to be defective; the plaintiff was awarded $8.3 million.

According to the company’s president, the recall of the hip replacements was due mainly to the rate of revision surgeries that needed to be done. The plaintiff’s lawyer explained to jurors that manufacturers knew there was a design flaw that caused it to shed materials and debris into the patient’s tissues. This can cause tissue death and higher blood metal ion levels, which require patients to undergo additional surgery.

Often, prior to mass production and public distribution, medical products, especially those requiring surgery, go through a series of clinical tests to determine if they are safe enough for use. Any signs of flaws or defects after they are installed may cause more harm than good to patients. Such harm may lead to medical products liability lawsuits against the manufacturers who unintentionally, but still recklessly, endanger lives and financially burden users of such products.

Victims of defective products and services are encouraged to speak to a trusted and knowledgeable legal professional for experienced advice when it comes to consumer safety issues.

Source: Bloomberg, “J&J’s Ekdahl Says Hip Recalled for Clinical Reasons,” Andrew Harris & David Voreacos, March 14, 2013