After years of pressure from suffering patients, concerned physicians and hospitals, and pressure from both the United States government and countries abroad, DePuy Orthopaedics Inc., a division of Johnson & Johnson, recalled its ASR hip implant device, an untested and flawed hip-replacement product that had been implanted in more than 93,000 people.
The recall came almost a year ago, on Aug. 26, 2010, after an increasing number of complaints by hip-replacement sufferers.
The ASR hip-replacement device, which was heavily marketed as the best alternative for active people and those in search of the most trouble-free answer to their hip problems, were implanted between the years 2005-2009.
Reportedly, certain doctors were heavily compensated to push the product to other doctors and hospitals, receiving in some cases millions of dollars. DePuy Orthpaedics, of course, made vast sums of money during this period. The cash rolled in, but people were suffering. DePuy is now being held responsible in hundreds of legal cases.
Originally, DePuy reported that it was recalling the product because perhaps 14 percent of the implants were “failing.” A more recent study put the failure rate at a staggering 49 percent.
Due to the pain and suffering, in many cases a second surgery is required to replace the old ASR hip device.
Problems reported include pain, swelling, cup loosening, audible popping and difficulty walking, according to the Cochran firm, which reports that it has a number of clients who have undergone these problems.
The ASR defect is said to be caused by a faulty metal-on-metal design, which leads to grinding between the ball and cup, made from forged cobalt chrome. Metal debris is known to occur as the ball and cup grind against each other. The debris then gets into the blood and tissues surrounding the joint, moving into the organs, and in many cases causing cysts to form, said the law firm.
As a consequence, bones can start to demineralize, and metallosis, a wasting of tissues and bones from the effect of chromium and cobalt into the body, can occur. This is a frightening potential problem, because the bones need to be strong enough for surgeons to take the defective ASR hip replacement out and plant the “corrective” replacement. If the bones become too brittle, the ability to walk again could be lost.
“Our clients limp into the office, broken people, angry over the breach of trust that has occurred, puzzled about how this can happen in America, hoping they won’t get cancer or never walk properly again, a dilemma we can’t solve, but a challenge in the courthouse we’re ready for,” said a statement from the Cochran firm.
“We are handling each case individually, because every DePuy ASR client has their own troubled journey. Our clients know we are all trial lawyers here, and like Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. demand that each case requires preparation, preparation, preparation. Our clients are not just one of a massive group of clients at our firm. Instead, we work with the best experts, consult with other leading attorneys to remain as knowledgeable as any lawyer about these cases, and we will work as hard and expertly as any lawyer there is on such cases.”