11292014Headline:

West Palm Beach, Florida

HomeFloridaWest Palm Beach

Email Brenda Fulmer Brenda Fulmer on LinkedIn Brenda Fulmer on Avvo
Brenda Fulmer
Brenda Fulmer
Attorney • (866) 735-1102 Ext 703

J&J DePuy Hip Designer Blames Doctors for Failures

3 comments

An orthopedic surgeon who helped design the recalled DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip recently testified for the defense in a California state court lawsuit that surgeons are to blame for the complications associated with the implant. Dr. Thomas Schmalzried headed the DePuy ASR team. Reportedly, he was paid $3.6 million by DePuy’s parent company, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), in royalties and another $20 million for work on other medical devices.

He testified at the first trial involving the DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implant currently underway in state court in Los Angeles, California. Over 10,000 individual lawsuits have been filed by plaintiffs who have had to undergo painful revision surgery or surgeries and suffered from metallosis and other systemic effects after being implanted with the DePuy ASR hip implant. The ASR metal-on-metal hip implant was recalled in August of 2010 after an excessive failure rate of 12% was noted in United Kingdom patients.

40% Complications and Failures

Today, it is feared that the DePuy ASR premature failure rate may be at least 40% or higher based upon data from an Australian Joint Registry. The United States does not have a post-market medical device registry, so it is very difficult for patients and surgeons to make informed decisions about the safety records for various implantable devices. Efforts to establish national joint registries in the past in the United States have been blocked by the powerful medical device industry.

Dr. Schmalzried testified in the LA trial of plaintiff Loren Kransky, a retired prison guard who claims that the DePuy ASR hip device implanted in his body was defective and leached metal ions from its cobalt-and-chromium components into his body causing systemic health problems and premature failure of the device. The plaintiff also alleges the ASR implant is defectively designed and the company failed to warn of its risks. Similar allegations of product defects, failure to warn, failure to conduct proper testing, breach of warranty, and fraudulent misrepresentations and concealment have been made in the other 10,000 lawsuits filed against DePuy since 2010, most of which are pending in the federal MDL proceedings in Toledo, Ohio; in state court in Bergen County, New Jersey; and in the coordinated proceedings in state court in California.

The surgeon told jurors the key is in getting the implant cup inserted in the correct position, such that the implant is at only a 45 degree angle. That’s the key to reducing wear that produces metal ions. DePuy’s consultant also testified it was his job to train doctors how to implant the DePuy ASR hip prosthesis. The Los Angeles jury has also heard from leading experts retained by the plaintiffs from around the world who testified that the premature failure of the DePuy ASR hip implant is due to defect in the implant including a shallow cup and edge loading, which lead to improper premature wear of the device and the production of metal ions which can lead to local inflammation around the implant and systemic disease. Dr. Schmalzried reportedly implanted 250 hips every year and 39 ASR devices up through 2007 and indicated that none of those patients experienced failures. He has since experienced a 23% failure rate in the 66 ASR hips he most recently implanted. Dr. Schmalzried told jurors he no longer uses the metal-on metal hip prosthesis opting for the newer alternatives including polyethylene cups.

3 Comments

Have an opinion about this post? Please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

  1. ron Buskerued says:
    up arrow

    If the damn hip was so good why isn’t he still using it. I have two and wish I could shove them up his a–.

  2. ron Buskerued says:
    up arrow

    If the damn hip was so good why isn’t he still using it. I have two and wish I could shove them up his a–.

  3. ron Buskerued says:
    up arrow

    If the damn hip was so good why isn’t he still using it. I have two and wish I could shove them up his a–.