FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-11-30
Stryker Orthopaedic is the latest manufacturer of metal hip implants to issue a major recall, and it is now facing several lawsuits regarding those implants as well.
In July, according to its own website, Stryker, a multinational medical device manufacturer based in Michigan, recalled its Rejuvenate Modular and ABG II modular-neck hip stem models due to “a potential for fretting and corrosion at the modular neck junction which may lead to adverse local tissue reactions.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) received at least 45 adverse event reports associated with the Rejuvenate modular-neck stem. Further,the fretting and corrosion resulted in cobalt shavings from the implants being released into the bloodstream causing heavy metal poisoning. As a result, patients with the implant have reported problems including: vision loss, fatigue, tumor-like configurations, muscle rot, pain and swelling at the hip joint, and immobility.
The first plaintiff to file a lawsuit against Stryker is a retiree from Florida who has been suffering from pain, immobility and extreme fatigue brought on by cobalt poisoning from the metal implants. Further, her hip fractured during a surgery to separate the implant from the surrounding muscles and bones so that her cobalt poisoning wouldn’t worsen. Other potential plaintiffs are in ever worse straits; some are not healthy enough due to the metal poisoning to undergo surgery to have the implants removed.
If Stryker is found to be culpable, there are various legal remedies plaintiffs may be entitled to under a product liability claim. Plaintiffs can seek to be compensated for medical expenses that they have incurred due to the implants, including reimbursement for: for pain medication, revision and removal surgeries, doctor’s visits, and new non-metal hip replacements.
Plaintiffs can also seek compensatory damages for issues like caregiver fees, lost income, home healthcare, and loss of income. Damages for physical and mental pain and suffering are also an option as are punitive damages that would serve to discourage similar behavior in the future by other manufacturers.
If you have been harmed by a Stryker hip implant, it is advisable to consult an attorney who specializes in complex product liability cases so that you are able to recover all the potential damages that you may qualify for.