As our population ages, and people are active into later years the demand for joint replacement surgeries has increased. Medical device manufacturers have sought to find ways to extend the lives of various implants, such as hip and knee replacements.
In the mid-2000s, DePuy, a division of Johnson & Johnson, marketed and sold a hip replacement system that claimed to outlast other models. The new system used metal components rather than plastic. In the United States, 37,000 patients received the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System or the ASR Acetabular System.
Unfortunately, patient complaints started accumulating. Data from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales indicated that one in eight patients who received the implants needed a second hip replacement surgery within five years. The rubbing of the metal-on-metal design also created higher levels of cobalt and chromium in the body. Metallic debris could also build up in the soft tissues and lead to metallosis.
In August 2010, DePuy issued a recall of the ASR hip implants. This summer was the second anniversary of the recall.
Second anniversary of recall
The anniversary is important because it may affect the filing of a claim. Each state has a statute of limitations, which establishes a time limit for suing in a civil case. The reason for these filing deadlines is to provide finality and predictability in legal affairs. It also ensures that cases are decided when evidence is fresh and readily available.
Pennsylvania has a two-year statute of limitations for bodily injury for negligence and strict product liability claims. The two-year limitations period begins to run from the date the harm occurred. If a court ruled that the two-year window commenced with the DePuy hip replacement recall notice, there is the possibility that some lawsuit not yet filed could be barred.
Currently, DePuy has not raised this issue and courts have not ruled on the issue. Many times an injury that might be tied to a defective medical device is not discovered immediately. Because of the statute of limitations, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced Philadelphia defective medical device lawyer as soon as possible after discovering the injury.
Even before the recall, lawsuits alleged that the metal-on-metal hip replacements caused serious health problems including pain, swelling, dislocation and metallosis. Since the recall, thousands of claims have been filed. A federal district court in Ohio will hear many of the consolidated cases. The first DePuy hip replacement trial could begin in May 2013.
McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC: Experienced Philadelphia Defective Medical Device Lawyers
DePuy was not the only company to make and market metal-on-metal hip replacements. If you received this type of hip replacement with the understanding it would hold up longer than other available options and are now experiencing complications, contact a local products liability lawyer. In the case that a revision surgery is required, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical costs and pain and suffering. For a free initial consultation with one of our Philadelphia defective medical device lawyers, call McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC today at 215-569-8488 or contact us online.