Dec 4

Woman with DePuy hip replacement awarded €321k by High Court

DePuy Watch: High Court awards €321,000 in damages to 81 year old woman from Cork

The case was fought all the way by DePuy and ran for no less than 20 days in Court Number 2 at the Four Courts.

Joan Dineen from Co Cork was, according to Mr Justice Kevin Cross, entitled to expect that the DePuy ASR replacement hip which she had inserted in 2009 would have afforded her with a good degree of comfort for the remainder of her life.

However, after undergoing two further revision operations she is now in a ‘significantly worse position’ than she would have been had the implant been fit for purpose and had the revision surgeries not been necessary.

Mr Justice Cross found the DePuy ASR (Articular Surface Replacement) hip product was a ‘defective product’ and the result of the defects was that the ASR failed to an alarming degree and resulted in significant pain and suffering for Ms Dineen.

“These failure rates were unacceptable and significantly higher than what might be anticipated to be a normal or acceptable failure rate. This failure resulted in excessive ion levels and damage to the user’s bones or muscles and necessitated revisions”

Justice Cross said.

He added that

“Had DePuy robustly tested the ASR product, the defects which subsequently came to light would have been noticed prior to production”.

However the judge said in his view the threshold for the awarding for ‘aggravated damages’ had not been met and that the damages in the case would be ‘compensatory’ only while noting that the injuries sustained by Ms Dineen were “severe and indeed permanent and this has caused major disruption to her life”

Speaking about the DePuy ASR hip replacement he commented that

“These failure rates were unacceptable and significantly higher than what might be anticipated to be a normal or acceptable failure rate. This failure resulted in excessive ion levels and damage to the user’s bones or muscles and necessitated revisions.”

The decision is an encouraging one from the standpoint of patients who had the ASR product installed and are seeking redress, and was only the second case against DePuy that was fully defended and ran in its entirety before the Irish Courts.

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The ASR is a Metal on Metal (MoM) device where a metal cup is placed in the acetabular socket and the metal ball at the top of the femoral stem fits in. The design and dimensions of the ball and socket was sub-par and led to ‘edge-loading’ in patients – a grinding of the metal ball inside the metal socket. The effects can be two-fold;

The first is that the metal implants can be eroded or deformed by the normal pressures of carrying the weight of the patient.

The second is that the metal particles that wear off can cause a reaction in the immune response of the patient leading to inflammation and damage to the hip of the patient and in many cases a can causes a build-up of fluid, infection and/or pseudo tumours which not only damages the bones at the hip but can also damage the muscles and tendons on the area of the hip.

Typical complaints of those affected include pain in their hip or groin, a feeling of looseness, clicking or grinding in the joint, leg length difference leading to limping and in extreme cases, dislocation of the hip and in severe cases fracture or loss of use of the affected limb.

Have you been affected by faulty hip implants?  Contact Marguerite Baily on 01-5313800 to discuss.

Go To:  De Puy Hip Implant Recall


RELEVANT NEWS:

The Irish Times: Woman (81) with DePuy hip replacement awarded €321k by High Court

Irish Examiner: Settlements for faulty hips may reach €500k

Independent.ie: Plan to bring first case over defective hip implants

DRUGWATCH: DePuy ASR Hip Recall Information