Defective Hip Implant Award - Consumer Justice Foundation

Defective Hip Implant Award

Written by Faith Anderson on June 16, 2015

$4.5 Million Awarded in Lawsuit Over Wright Profemur Defective Hip Implant

A California jury awarded $4.5 million in damages last week, in the first of several hundred lawsuits to go to trial over side effects of the Wright Profemur hip implant system. The defective hip implant lawsuit was brought by Alan Warner, and included allegations that his Wright Profemur R hip replacement failed after just three years, when it should have lasted for between 15 and 20 years under normal circumstances. If you received a Wright Profemur artificial hip, and you have since suffered device failure, loosening, fracture, or another serious side effect, consult an experienced defective hip implant attorney today. You may have grounds to file a product liability lawsuit against the medical device maker, in order to seek fair and timely reimbursement for your injuries.

Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants Described

Unlike traditional hip implants, which feature a single femoral component, the Wright Profemur hip replacement system features two modular pieces that allow the implant to be adjusted for the proper leg length in patients. Such hip implants have become more and more popular, and are often constructed entirely of metal, which is supposed to prevent wear, decrease the chances of dislocation and reduce the risk of implant failure. However, serious concerns have been raised recently about the safety of the Profemur artificial hip and other metal-on-metal hip implants, with users claiming that the design is prone to fracture and failure at the femoral neck stem.

Potential Side Effects of All-Metal Hips

In the past, metal-on-metal hip implants, devices in which the ball and cup component is made of a metallic alloy, were used in one out of every three hip replacement procedures performed in the United States every year. Today, thousands of patients are undergoing painful and costly revision surgeries to replace the devices, which are failing at a higher-than-expected rate, and are causing severe tissue and bone damage in many implant recipients, leaving some of them disabled. As a result, the use of all-metal hip replacement devices has plummeted, but patients who received the implants in the past are still suffering the consequences.

As studies continue to examine the potential risks of all-metal hip replacement systems like the Wright Profemur artificial hip, more and more consumers who have suffered serious injuries from their hip implants are coming forward to pursue legal action against the makers of the allegedly defective devices. Among the side effects potentially linked to metal-on-metal hip implants are:

  • Metal blood poisoning (metallosis)
  • Device loosening and/or fracture
  • Premature device failure
  • Need for revision surgery
  • Damage to bone and/or tissue surrounding the implant
  • Pain in the affected joint

It was these side effect risks that led to the DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implant recall in August 2010, after studies showed high failure rates associated with the company’s ASR Hip Resurfacing System and ASR XL Acetabular System.

Long-Term Effects of Hip Implant Failure

According to allegations raised in Alan Warner’s defective hip implant lawsuit, the laser etchings meant to help surgeons position the Wright Profemur implant were engraved too deeply, which caused the metal component to weaken, become brittle, and eventually snap during normal, everyday use. As a result of his hip implant failure, Warner reportedly had “14 major surgeries after the initial break due to subsequent dislocations and infection,” and “has severe scarring from the multiple operations and is now almost entirely confined to his home.” Warner will also require revision surgery to replace his current hip implant in the near future.

After it was discovered in 2013 that an estimated 500,000 patients in the United States had received an artificial hip that had failed prematurely in many cases, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agreed to introduce more stringent regulations regarding metal-on-metal hip implant devices. Under the new regulations, the FDA announced that makers of hip implants with all-metal components would be required to prove the devices were safe and effective before they could continue selling existing devices or obtain approval for new metal-on-metal designs.

Lawsuits Over Injuries from Artificial Hips

The majority of lawsuits over injuries from metal-on-metal hip replacement systems involve allegations of the metal components rubbing against one another during use, causing metal blood poisoning, tissue damage and other major side effects, including hip implant failure. And while reported cases of the Profemur hip implant snapping are uncommon, affecting roughly one in more than 9,000 implant recipients, the plaintiff verdict in Warner’s lawsuit may result in more Profemur hip implant users coming forward and pursing product liability claims against Wright. Wright already settled two Profemur lawsuits in 2013, just before they were scheduled to go to trial, and in 2011, the company agreed to pay $7.9 million in fines after being sued by the federal government for questionable business practices involving bribing doctors to use its products.

Contact a Defective Hip Implant Lawyer Today

Warner is just one of more than 1,200 individuals who have already brought claims against Wright for injuries stemming from its Profemur hip implant, involving injuries and complications occurring when the modular femoral neck stem broke, and many of these cases have been consolidated for coordinated pretrial proceedings as part of a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL). The claims all involve similar allegations that the metal-on-metal design of the devices causes high levels of metal particles to be released into the blood, which can cause loosening, implant failure and other serious medical complications. If you believe you have suffered side effects of a defective hip implant, like the Wright Profemur device or DePuy’s ASR hip implant, contact a skilled product liability lawyer to discuss your options for legal recourse.


Posted Under: Dangerous Products, DePuy Hip, Hip Implants, Legal, Medical Products, News
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