There has been a huge surge in complaints in recent months about failed hip replacements, suggesting that serious problems persist with some types of artificial hips even as researchers continues to evaluate their health dangers.
The FDA in the USA has received more that 5,000 reports since January 2011 about several widely used devices known as metal-on-metal hips. This number is more than the agency had received about those devices in the previous 4 years combined.
The vast majority of filings appear to reflect patients who have had an all-metal hip removed, or will soon under go such a procedure because of a device failed after only a few years. Typically, hip replacements last 15 years or more.
DePuy Orthopaedics, a division o Johnson & Johnson, issued a recall of its two hip replacement products in August 2010. Hundreds of claims have now been filed in connection with that recall and medical negligence expect the claims to run into the thousands.
Increasing complaints what many experts have feared – that all-metal replacement hips are on a trajectory to become the biggest and most costly medical implant problem since Medtronic recalled a widely used heart device component in 2007.
Though immediate problems with hip implants are not life threatening, some patients have suffered crippling injuries caused by tiny particles of cobalt and chromium that the metal devices shed as they wear.
Hip replacement is one of the most common procedures in Ireland and over 70,000 hip replacements have taken place here since July 2003.
Liam Moloney, Solicitor in Naas, whose firm is taking a class action on behalf of many affected patients who received the DePuy products, said today, “The DePuy recall appears to be only the tip of the ice berg. There are thousands of people in Ireland who have received metal on metal hip implants over the past ten years. Metal on metal hip implants were widely used by surgeons and hospitals. The manufacturers of these implants will inevitably face compensation claims from patients who have been injured as a result of the design, manufacture and sale of these products”.