Compensation claims for Rejuvenate hip implants have taken a step forward with the announcement that twenty cases sent for mediation have been resolved.
Stryker´s Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implants were recalled in 2012 after it was found that cobalt and chromium was leaching from the implants and causing inflammation, tissue wear and the failure of the implants.
Unlike the highly publicized Depuy ASR hip implant recall – due to metal-on-metal friction between the cup and the ball of the implant – the metallosis in Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implants originates from a poorly fitting joint in the stem of the implant.
Consequently, revision surgery to replace Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implants is significantly more invasive and involves a surgeon removing the stem of the implant from the patient´s femur. Cables are then placed around the femur to allow it to heal before a new hip implant can be fitted.
The consequences to the patient are that the procedure takes considerably longer than other types of hip revision surgery, and the patient suffers more residual disability. These factors impact settlements of compensation claims for Rejuvenate hip implants and ABG II hip implants, as the patient experiences a greater level of pain and suffering and is immobile for a considerably longer period of time.
More than 4,000 compensation claims for Rejuvenate hip implants and ABG II hip implants have been made against Stryker to date and, according to a court document issued earlier this month, twenty claims which form part of the multi-county litigation (MCL) taking place in Bergen County, New Jersey, have been resolved.
No details are available about how much compensation for Rejuvenate hip implants each plaintiff has received as this may compromise future trials but, in addition to the settlements, the Honorable Brian R Martinotti – the judge presiding over the Bergen County MCL – announced that two “bellwether” cases have been scheduled for June 15 and July 13, 2015.
This is a significant step forward in the litigation process for plaintiffs who are waiting to resolve their compensation claims for Rejuvenate hip implants, and although there has been no movement in the multi-district litigation in progress in Minnesota under Judge Donovan Frank, it could signal an early conclusion for everybody who has suffered an injury due to a faulty Rejuvenate or ABG II hip implant.
Potential plaintiffs who have not yet made compensation claims for Rejuvenate hip implants and ABG II hip implants should speak with a lawyer as soon as practically possible.
The twice-postponed DePuy ASR hip replacement hearing has been delayed once again – on this occasion due to a change of plaintiff and a ruling about referring to the DePuy recall in court as evidence.
The first scheduled Federal DePuy ASR hip replacement hearing was put back again last week after the parties in McCracken -v- DePuy (Case No 1:11 dp 20485) were allowed extra time by U.S. District Judge David A. Katz for discovery to take place and to attend to other legal matters.
The first `Bellwether` DePuy ASR hip replacement hearing has now been rescheduled for September 24th, and arguments will be heard regarding the hip dislocation sustained by Ann McCracken (57) from Rochester in New York, which is alleged to have been due to metal particles displaced by her DePuy ASR XL Hip Replacement System causing the soft tissues surrounding her hip to decay.
Ann had a DePuy ASR XL Hip Replacement System implanted in August 2009, but had to undergo revision surgery in January 2011 after her hip had dislocated. In October 2011, Ann had to undergo a further operation to insert a device restricting the movement of her hip, which has limited her mobility and will result in her present hip replacement system wearing out quicker than would usually be anticipated – resulting in another hip replacement operation in the future.
The latest delay is due to Judge Katz agreeing to the argument that the worldwide recall of the DePuy hip replacement systems should not be referred to in court – not only because the DePuy ASR hip replacement hearing should be judged on its individual merits, but DePuy´s lawyers successfully argued that any reference to the DePuy recall at trial might prevent other pharmaceutical companies from voluntarily withdrawing potentially dangerous medical devices because of the legal consequences.
One of the purposes of Ann McCracken´s ‘Bellwether’ DePuy ASR hip replacement hearing is to evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of the plaintiffs´ claims and DePuy Orthopedic´s defense. If Ann´s case – and others still to be scheduled among the `Bellwether’ trials – results in a yardstick for compensation settlements, DePuy Orthopedics are likely to negotiate settlement offers with the 7,800 additional plaintiffs also attached to the consolidated multidistrict litigation (MDL).
If no compensation yardstick is established by the juries in each of the trials – or if there are both positive and negative verdicts returned –the remaining scheduled DePuy ASR hip replacement hearings will be referred back to the US District Courts in which they were originally filed – each to be heard individually and prolonging how long it will take for each plaintiff to receive a fair settlement of DePuy hip replacement injury compensation.
An increase in the number of metal on metal hip implant compensation claims is likely following revelations that medical regulators are revising their advice for patients who have received metal on metal hip replacement systems in the UK.
Advisors to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) want to extend the advice already provided for patients who received the recalled DePuy hip implant which was withdrawn from use in August 2010. Currently, patients are being recommended to have the implant x-rayed on an annual basis and have a blood test taken to check for high levels of “system toxicity”.
Concerns exist that microscopic particles of chromium and cobalt – displaced when friction occurs between the metal ball and cup of the implant – are entering the bloodstream and causing damage to the patient´s organs and neurological system. These concerns are in addition to the high volume of failure rates seen with the recalled DePuy ASR metal on metal hip replacement systems which have been responsible for patients experiencing hip inflammation, infection and tissue necrosis.
Stephen Cannon, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon for the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, has advised that the bone wear and tissue necrosis caused by these metal on metal hip implants can make revision surgery more complicated, more painful to the patient and requiring a longer post-operative period of rehabilitation. Consequently, not only is the number of metal on metal hip implant injury compensation claims expected to increase, but also how much compensation for replacement hip implant surgery each victim is entitled to.
Following the DePuy metal on metal hip implant recall, the MHRA told orthopaedic surgeons to contact every hip replacement patient to ensure they were monitored. However Professor Joe Dias, president of the British Orthopaedic Association, claims that only 41 per cent of patients who received a DePuy metal on metal hip implant were registered on the National Orthopaedic Register and, although many may have undergone the recommended checks without their details being centrally logged, he was concerned that some may never have been contacted.
It is not certain exactly what new advice will be issued by the MHRA, or when the new recommendations will be announced; however, with a higher awareness of the health risks presented by the recalled DePuy metal on metal hip implants and more people having to undergo difficult revision surgery, the number of metal-on-metal hip implant compensation claims will surely rise.