All-Metal Hip Recipients Encouraged To Seek Annual Monitoring To Detect Damage
Bernstein Liebhard LLP reports on a February 28, 2012 health directive issued by the British Medical Journal and the British Broadcasting Corporation. A joint investigation conducted by the two entities resulted in an updated warning, affecting thousands of individuals who received metal-on-metal hip implants. British health officials now advise that patients undergo annual testing for as long as they have the device to ensure that they are not suffering from tissue damage or other complications. Specifically, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (“MHRA”) recommended that metal-on-metal hip recipients should have yearly blood tests to check for metal ion levels. If heightened metal levels are detected, patients should have a magnetic resonance imaging scan (“MRI”) in order to detect possible damage caused by metallic debris. Dr. Susanne Ludgate, the clinical director of MHRA stated, “By monitoring patients every year, any complications will get picked up earlier and more complex surgery can be avoided.” Previously, British health regulators advised that metal-on-metal hip recipients be monitored for five years following implantation.
FDA Maintains Existing Recommendations For Metal-On-Metal Hip Recipients
The New York Times has been carefully monitoring the metal-on-metal hip controversy since the DePuy ASR hip recall was issued in August 2010. In response to this latest development surrounding the metal-on-metal hip controversy, on February 29, 2012, a New York Times article noted that while the British advisory does not affect patients in the United States, it estimates “that many, if not most, of the half a million patients in the United Stated who received an all-metal hip over the last decade got such devices.” When asked about the British advisory, Erica Jefferson, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), stated that the agency was maintaining its existing recommendations, and questioned whether blood tests to determine metal ion levels accurately reflect damage. “We continue to recommend that hip replacement patients undergo regular follow-up with their physicians,” she said. Although the FDA chose not to endorse the British advisory, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons said that it agreed with “the clinical assessment” made by British health officials. The New York Times also indicated that “[a]s the metal-hip episode has unfolded in recent years, regulators and surgeons outside the United States have typically been ahead of their counterparts here in addressing the risks of the implants.”
In light of this latest development, Bernstein Liebhard LLP partner Felecia L. Stern, who is representing clients in the DePuy ASR lawsuits, commented “Since the ASR hip recall, we have encouraged all of our clients, including those who received other models of metal-on-metal hip implants, to undergo regular follow-up with their doctors and we are thrilled to hear that British health regulators are urging the same thing. Given what we know about the damage that can result from metallic debris generated as the hip implants wear, waiting years between follow-up appointments could lead to irreparable injury. As any physician will tell you, the more tissue damage to the area surrounding the implant, the more difficult revision surgery will be.”
The DePuy hip replacement lawyers at Bernstein Liebhard LLP are actively filing cases on behalf of individuals who have been implanted with either or both types of artificial metal-on-metal hip implants manufactured by DePuy. The lawsuits allege that the ASR hip replacement and the metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip replacement systems were defectively designed. Bernstein Liebhard LLP is filing cases in the following actions: In re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. ASR Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation (“MDL No. 2197”), which is currently underway in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and In re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation (“MDL No. 2244”), which is currently underway in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
About Bernstein Liebhard LLP
Bernstein Liebhard LLP is a New York-based law firm exclusively representing injured persons in complex individual and class action lawsuits nationwide since 1993, including those who have been harmed by dangerous drugs, defective medical devices and consumer products. The firm has been named by The National Law Journal to the “Plaintiffs’ Hot List,” recognizing the top plaintiffs’ firms in the country, for the past nine consecutive years. Only two firms in the country have been selected for the Hot List nine years in a row.
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