Product News and Recalls

NPR broadcast examines faulty hip implants

National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” on Monday provided an in-depth look at the problems that recipients of DePuy’s all-metal hip implants are dealing with. The company recalled the implants in 2010 because of a high early failure rate.

The broadcast actually went into the operating room at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital, where New Hampshire resident Susy Mansfield was undergoing surgery to remove one of the faulty devices.

The surgeon described for listeners the dead muscle and the staining on Mansfield’s tissue from metal debris – both a result of the implant.

Mansfield got the hip replacement in 2009, at the age of 57. The constant pain from a hip injury, which the implant was supposed to alleviate, only grew worse in the years since the surgery.

“It’s a hot pain … that’s there all the time,” Mansfield said. “Every step is agony.”

The report estimates that more than a half-million Americans have metal-on-metal artificial hips, in which both the ball and the socket are coated with metal. More than 5,000 of them have filed lawsuits against manufacturers.

A recent study in respected British medical journal The Lancet found a five-year failure rate of 6.2 percent for the all-metal implants, which amounts to one in 16 patients. Doctors usually expect hip implants to last at least a decade.

The NPR report points out that although the implant Mansfield got wasn’t tested extensively in humans, the Food and Drug Administration approved it through a loophole for devices deemed “substantially equivalent” to ones that are already on the market.

DePuy, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, is offering compensation in the form of covering medical expenses, and physicians are being told to refer their patients to the company’s claims settlement company, Broadspire. But these “settlements” do not cover all potential damages, or future injuries that might arise. You may be unknowingly signing your rights away by agreeing to settle for past medical expenses only.

Contact Lopez McHugh for a free case evaluation if you received a DePuy Orthopaedics hip implant and experienced complications.

See the NPR report and hear the broadcast here: