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Irish Patients Plan Lawsuit Over DePuy ASR Hip Implants

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A group of Irish patients are planning a lawsuit over DePuy ASR hip implants. DePuy Orthopaedics is a unit of Johnson & Johnson.

According to the law firm representing the group fitted with faulty DePuy ASR implants, the action will be made against the device maker or its parent company, said the Irish Examiner. At least 60 patients are involved and most are planning on moving forward with the lawsuit.

In Ireland, 3,282 patients have been fitted with the defective DePuy devices. One-third underwent their surgery at the Whitfield Clinic in Waterford where orthopedic consultant, Tadhg O’Sullivan, was invited by DePuy International to serve as its design surgeon, ultimately becoming involved in the development of the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing components and technique, said the Irish Examiner. Donal O’Farrell, the clinic’s chief executive, said the issues arising from the DePuy recall did “not reflect on the quality of healthcare provided at Whitfield,” the Irish Examiner wrote.

Metal-on-metal hip implants have been concerning the medical community ever since the DePuy’s ASR Hip Resurfacing System and the DePuy ASR Acetabular System were globally recalled in August 2010. As of last count, DePuy is facing more than 5,000 U.S. lawsuits over its defective ASR hip implants by patients who allege the implants failed within a few years of their first surgeries. Another 900 lawsuits are pending in the U.S. over DePuy’s all-metal version of the Pinnacle hip replacement device. According to plaintiffs, said NewsInferno, the all-metal Pinnacle is similar in design to the ASR implants and should have also been recalled.
Metal-on-metal hip implants are believed to shed dangerous cobalt and chromium levels through wear, which can cause tissue damage; premature device failure; the need for revision surgery; and long-term health problems, including to the heart and nervous system, said NewsInferno. As a matter-of-fact, last May, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) directed 21 all-metal hip implant device makers, including DePuy, to conduct post-market studies of these devices to determine if the devices were, indeed, shedding dangerous amounts of metallic debris in patients’ bodies, NewsInferno has previously explained.

In Britain, said the Irish Examiner, updating patient safety information to include warnings about the link between all-metal devices and metal shedding is being considered. The Irish Medicines Board said it would follow the British authorities’ actions.

Ireland’s current Health Services Executive (HSE) figures indicate that nearly one-quarter of the patients there fitted with all-metal devices are scheduled for follow-up blood tests over increased metal levels, at least 516 underwent MRIs, 192 have had revision surgery, and 96 are scheduled for revision surgery, said the Irish Examiner.

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