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DePuy Orthopaedics Accused of Deceiving Hip Replacement Patients

Posted Dec 15 2010 12:00am
Hip replacement Image 3684-PH
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A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Orthopaedics, Inc. a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson over a hip replacement implant that was recalled earlier this year due to a high failure rate. According to a study published in Britain, 13 percent of patients that received the ASR XL Acetabular System hip replacement had to have revision surgery within five years.   This recall of the faulty hip replacement devices has affected around 93,000 people. The suit claims the company, DePuy Orthopaedics, misled patients to believe they were going to be reimbursed for the costs of their “revision surgeries.” Patients released their medical records to DePuy under that assumption, the lawsuit states.  The lawsuit contends that the company should have known the device was defective prior its sale to patients. The suit will potentially cover any patient who received a DePuy hip replacement in the last seven years.

DePuy is owned by , whose slogan is:  “A family company.”  Reading these articles makes one wonder if any of the Johnson family was ever implanted with one of these faulty hip replacements.  Guessing the answer would be no.

We are talking 93,000 possible patients affected, worldwide.  Most of these individuals are older folks, who are more affected by anesthesia, less tolerant of the excruciating pain involved in , have longer duration of physical therapy treatment and are most likely have other conditions that affected the need for the surgery, which will further complicate matters.  In addition, for many of these patients, nursing home care will be required, with the attendant risks for the patient of being in that environment.

According to one of the law firms involved:

“Hip replacement surgery is among the most painful and disruptive surgeries an individual may have to endure. Once is certainly enough, but to undergo the procedure twice, and as a result of a defective implant is almost unimaginable,” said Seth A. Katz, Burg Simpson shareholder, and one of several attorneys working on this case.

Mr. Katz continues, “When medical devices such as DePuy’s ASR XL Acetabular System fail. Given the large number of devices recalled, it is conceivable that thousands of individuals across the United States may unknowingly need revision surgery, even if they are currently not experiencing any pain or discomfort…”

Added to that is the duplicity of DePuy in giving the impression that by the patients’ sending their medical records, the company would cover the expense of revision surgery, when it appears that the primary purpose of that request was to get their “ducks in a row” for the lawsuits they saw looming over them.

As a Nurse Life Care Planner, there are any number of considerations that will need to be evaluated in order to assess the ongoing damages to these patients:

  • Overall status of these patient’s general health both for patients who have had revision surgery and those who will have to undergo the surgery again.  Including co-morbidities brought about by additional surgery and the resultant hospitalizations.
  • What will be required for them to return to work and activities of daily living?  Physical therapy, assistive devices, nursing home care, home health care, etc.
  • They could require a pain management specialist as this surgery and recovery is painful.  The effects of these medications should be reviewed.
  • Particularly for the elderly patients, the services of a Case Manager will be needed to ensure continuity of care.
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