Stryker Hip Lawsuits Seek Compensation for Injured Patients
The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan are reviewing potential lawsuits on behalf of patients implanted with hip implants manufactured by Stryker Orthopaedics. In July 2012, the company voluntarily recalled two metal hip replacement components over concerns that the devices could cause pain, swelling and harm to surrounding body tissue. Our attorneys believe that the recall adds to growing evidence that metal-on-metal hip implants are inherently defective and would like to hear from any patient who suspects they have been implanted with a hip replacement subject to the recall.
If you received a Stryker hip implant, our attorneys may be able to help you sue the manufacturer to recover compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering and other related losses. To find out if you may be entitled to financial compensation, please complete our free case review form today – even if you are unsure as to which hip implant you received. Our law firm is currently investigating potential lawsuits involving a number of metal-on-metal devices, including those manufactured by DePuy, Smith and Nephew and Biomet, and can contact the surgeon who performed your procedure to verify which hip replacement you received.
Stryker Hip Implant Litigation: What You Need to Know
Stryker joins Johnson & Johnson, Biomet and a number of other medical device makers facing lawsuits alleging that their metal-on-metal hip implants are defective, prone to failure and can cause metal poisoning. Currently, 576 lawsuits are pending over Stryker’s recalled Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck hip implant products. These suits have been transferred to one court before a single judge as part of a legal procedure known as multidistrict litigation (MDL). Consolidating multiple lawsuits into an MDL conserves the resources, time and money of all those involved, allows for more consistent rulings, and helps to expedite the litigation.
Why Are People Suing Over the Recalled Hips?
People who have been implanted with Stryker’s Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck hip implant products are filing lawsuits to seek compensation for losses (e.g. medical expenses, physical pain, etc.) related to their hip implant problems and to hold the manufacturer accountable for releasing an allegedly defective product into the marketplace. The plaintiffs’ claims focus on the performance of these hip implants, particularly their tendency to fret, corrode and fail prematurely.
These lawsuits make a number of allegations against Stryker, including the following:
- The manufacturer failed to properly test the device
- The manufacturer marketed the device as a “perfect fit” for younger patients, leading doctors and patients to believe the product was superior to other hip implants on the market
- The device can corrode, deteriorate and cause severe metal toxicity in patients
- The manufacturer failed to properly warn doctors and patients about the dangers of the device, including heavy metal toxicity
- The systems contain design and manufacturing defects and can cause serious and permanent damage to patients
- The systems release heavy metals into patients’ bodies, leading to severe and permanent destruction of bone and tissue
- The manufacturer knew or should have known that the product was inherently more dangerous than other available hip implants because of its risk of fretting and corrosion, premature failure rate and an increased need for additional surgeries
- The manufacturer aggressively marketed the product without informing consumers about the risks outlined above when safe alternatives were available
Stryker’s Reimbursement Program
Shortly after the recall, Stryker hired Broadspire Services Inc., a third-party claims administrator whose parent company claims to be the world’s largest insurance and claims adjuster, to handle reimbursement claims for patients affected by the recall. Our attorneys are urging patients who are considering participating in Stryker’s reimbursement program to contact us first, for two main reasons.
First, Stryker announced that the company will be “reimbursing patients for testing, treatment, revision surgery, if necessary, and other costs” related to the recall. Unfortunately, Stryker’s announcement did not clearly define “necessary” or whether a doctor, patient or the company itself would be determining whether a test, treatment or revision was necessary. Additionally, Stryker has not outlined the “other costs” that could be compensable through its reimbursement program. Our attorneys suspect that these “other costs” do not include losses unrelated to treatment, such as pain and suffering, lost wages and mental anguish; however, these losses, in addition to current and future medical expenses, may be recoverable through a lawsuit against Stryker.
Second, it has also been reported that hip implant recipients were sent letters asking patients to sign medical authorization forms. We believe this would allow Stryker and Broadspire access to patients’ medical records and the ability to inquire into unrelated medical problems and other issues without first notifying the patient. Essentially, if the patient signs these release forms without speaking to an attorney, he or she may be putting their right to medical privacy at risk, while Stryker could use any information it obtains against the patient in court. Because many physicians require these forms to be signed and submitted to Broadspire before continuing to provide treatment, it is important to contact a hip implant lawyer who can help protect your legal rights while ensuring you receive the medical care you need.
Why Was the Stryker Hip Recall Issued?
Stryker recalled two metal hip components, known as the Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck stems, over concerns that the parts could fret or corrode, resulting in pain, swelling and inflammation in the surrounding tissue. Although the design of the Stryker hips differs from traditional metal-on-metal hip implants, which involve a metal ball and socket, it is believed that the recalled neck stems are causing problems similar to those experienced in patients implanted with the recalled DePuy ASR systems and other metal-on-metal hip replacements targeted by pending litigation. These problems include hip implant failure and metal poisoning, which can lead to a number of problems affecting the heart, nervous system and thyroid.
Stryker Hip Replacement Problems Include Metal Poisoning
The Stryker products contain a metal neck positioned inside a metal stem, which may present a risk of metal poisoning for recipients. As a result of metal corrosion and the potential friction experienced between the neck piece and stem, it is believed that the device may generate microscopic metallic debris, which can cause a deterioration of tissue around the joint, loosening of the hip replacement and premature failure. These metal ions can also reportedly enter the patients’ blood stream, potentially leading to adverse reactions and related medical problems. According to the FDA, metal toxicity may lead to:
- Impaired kidney function
- Thyroid problems, including weight gain, neck discomfort, fatigue and feeling cold
- Depressions, cognitive impairment or other psychological issues
- Skin rashes
- Hearing or vision impairments
- Cardiomyopathy, a condition that weakens and enlarges the heart muscle
What Symptoms Were Outlined in the Stryker Hip Recall?
The Stryker hip implant recall specifically identified pain and swelling as symptoms associated with problems related to its Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck stems. The company advised patients to schedule follow-up appointments with their physicians, even if they were not experiencing these symptoms.
According to the FDA, the following symptoms, if experienced three or more months after surgery, may indicate that a hip implant is not functioning properly:
- Hip, leg or groin pain
- Swelling at or near the hip joint
- Popping, grinding, clicking or squeaking sounds from the hip joint
- A limp or change in mobility
Contact a Stryker Hip Recall Lawyer
Evidence continues to mount that metal-on-metal hip implants are causing more side effects than those made out of ceramic or plastic, strengthening plaintiffs’ claims that these devices are defective. If you or a loved one has been implanted with a hip implant subject to the Stryker hip recall, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer seeking compensation for current and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages. There is a time limit for filing a claim, so do not hesitate to contact us today for a free consultation.