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Clinical Negligence Claims Arising from Faulty Hip Replacement Dismissed in High Court (3 August 2018)

Date: 03/08/2018
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, Clinical Negligence Claims Arising from Faulty Hip Replacement Dismissed in High Court

In recent news we have seen a high profile clinical negligence claim concerning a number of hip-replacement patients fail at the High Court.

Mrs Justice Andrews said they had failed to prove the hip joint:

“Did not meet the level of safety that the public generally were entitled to expect at the time when it entered the market in 2002, nor did it carry with it an abnormal risk of damage, as alleged.”

Numerous Claimants had to have further surgery after being fitted with the Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) and Pinnacle Hip Implants manufactured by DePuy Synthes, which they say was due to the fact that the product was unsafe. They brought the claim against the medical equipment US manufacturer owned by Johnson & Johnson on the grounds that the materials used were unsafe and caused a risk to public health.

There was a time when the metal-on-metal hip replacement was considered far better for patients than other alternatives. It was proposed that the durability would give patients reassurance that the prosthetic hip would last, forgoing the need for further surgery down the line.

In reality, the metal on metal implant caused further complications in that the rubbing of the metal caused the replacement hip to release microscopic metal ions into the surrounding tissue.

In the most extreme cases patients developed metallosis, a metal poisoning which can kill off surrounding bone and tissue. This condition causes the product to lose positioning within the socket as the integrity of the tissue is compromised.

Arthroplasty surgery, which concerns joint replacement, can cause a number of complications including:

  • Infection (including sepsis),

  • Fractures around the prosthesis,

  • Joint dislocations,

  • Osteolysis (destruction of bone tissue), and

  • Heterotopic ossification (when bone tissue forms external to the skeletal structure).

In this case, the Claimants argued that DePuy hip replacements increase the dangers already present within such surgical treatment.

Under the Consumer Protection Act, it is a manufacturer’s responsibility to distribute a product that is safe and fit for purpose. In their defence, DePuy stated that the implant "met the standard of safety under the Consumer Protection Act and performed as well or better than other prostheses that were on the market [in 2002]." DePuy’s ASR XL Acetabular metal-on-metal hip replacements were officially recalled in 2010.

Despite the fact that the High Court did not find in the Claimant’s favour in this case, there are still many international claims being processed against DePuy for these particular devices. There also remain approximately 56,000 UK patients with metal-on-metal hip prosthesis.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency advises all patients to have regular check-ups and to seek immediate medical attention should they experience any unusual symptoms.

Should you or anyone you know, experience complications as a result of a faulty product, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. You may call our team for a free consultation if you are unsure whether you are entitled to damages.

Nilma Shah is an experienced Solicitor in the Personal Injury/ Clinical Negligence and Litigation departments at Duncan Lewis with more than 5 years PQE. She regularly handles different types of serious injury claims, providing legal representation to clients who have suffered negligence- and have sustained serious injuries, from birth injury claims to misdiagnosis claims.

Contact Nilma on 020 3114 1274 or via email on nilmap@duncanlewis.com.

Duncan Lewis Personal Injury Solicitors

Our personal injury team have extensive experience representing clients who have sustained injuries as a result of faulty products, or accidents at work, in the home or in a public place.

Personal injury claimants usually have three years from the date of the injury to make a claim for compensation. Because of the limitation period for personal injury claims, it is important to seek legal advice from Duncan Lewis personal injury solicitors as soon as possible if you are injured by a faulty product.

Family members can call Duncan Lewis for advice on making a claim if someone close to them has been injured and is still recovering in hospital.

For expert legal advice call one of our experienced Personal Injury solicitors on 0333 772 0409.

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