Many patients who received a defective hip device may have been relieved to hear that they would be able to recoup the costs of a second surgery. However, patients who were implanted with the recalled DePuy ASR Hip System may be able to recover additional compensation for the serious side effects caused by this medical device.
DePuy Recalls the ASR Hip System Due to Early Failure Rates
The DePuy ASR Hip System is a metal-on-metal device that was implanted in over 40,000 patients in the U.S. In March 2010, DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, warned doctors that the company’s own testing revealed a high early failure rate in patients implanted with the ASR Hip System. Later that year, all models of the DePuy ASR Hip System (including the ASR XL Acetabular System) were recalled due to the risk of premature loosening of the device.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has acknowledged reports implicating the DePuy ASR hip system in many cases of severe medical problems, such as:
- Pseudotumors (buildup of tissue around the hip joint)
- Metallosis (metal poisoning in the patient’s bloodstream)
- Swelling or inflammation of tissues surrounding the hip
- Tissue death (necrosis)
- Osteolysis (lost bone tissue)
- Balance and gait issues
- Serious pain in the patient’s hip joint
- Chronic fatigue
- Revision surgery to replace the defective hip
Patients May Suffer Metal Poisoning From the DePuy ASR
Patients who suffered metallosis are at risk of further complications as a result of metal particles and shavings that were released into their bloodstream. The DePuy ASR contains both cobalt and chromium, which can be absorbed into the body and spread throughout the patient’s system, causing medical problems such as:
- Severe inflammation of bodily tissues
- Muscle and joint pain
- Mental confusion, forgetfulness, or short-term memory loss
- Food allergies (or sudden intolerance of certain foods)
- Vision problems
- Gastrointestinal conditions (chronic acid reflux, nausea, or upset stomach)
DePuy ASR Claims Rise Due to Revision Surgery and Serious Injuries
In November 2013, Johnson & Johnson announced the creation of a settlement fund to pay thousands of patients who received defective DePuy ASR hip implants. Johnson & Johnson put aside over $2.5 billion to resolve outstanding claims, providing a base award of $250,000 to patients who underwent revision surgeries after being implanted with the ASR or ASR XL hip device prior to August 31, 2013.
Johnson & Johnson also agreed to reimburse certain costs that affected patients had paid out of pocket, including hospitalization, medical complications (such as clots, strokes, and heart attacks) and multiple surgeries. The $250,000 base award may be adjusted depending on the individual suffering of the patient, as well as the medical costs they have incurred due to device failure.
Although DePuy has agreed to cover the costs of revision surgery, this payment may not be enough to compensate patients for their losses. Many orthopedic surgeons will attest that a second or revision hip surgery is often not as effective as the original attempt, as the rehabilitation and recovery process is much more difficult and lengthy the second time. Patients are also more likely to suffer severe complications as a result of additional surgeries, especially if they are elderly or suffer from compromised immune systems.
Patients are fully within their rights to file a dangerous medical device lawsuit against DePuy. However, DePuy has been paying surgeons to assist them in getting patients to sign documents that allow DePuy to keep the explanted hip in order to “test” it. The explanted device is a valuable piece of evidence, and a patient may not be able to prove a product defect case without the explanted DePuy ASR hip device. Patients should be wary of this and not jeopardize their current and future legal rights by signing any documents for DePuy without obtaining independent legal advice.
Several lawsuits have alleged that DePuy knew about the high failure rate and risk of metal toxicity long before the recall was initiated, but they failed to properly warn consumers about the potential dangers. If you are one of the unfortunate patients who was implanted with DePuy’s ASR XL, Rejuvenate, or any other hip implant device, you may be entitled to compensation. We can help you recover payment for your surgeries, lost wages, medical bills, and permanent disability—and you will owe us no legal fees unless we win your case. Call the number on this page today to schedule a free case evaluation.