In March of this year, a federal court ordered the makers of the DePuy Pinnacle replacement hip, Johnson & Johnson, to pay $502 million to those injured by its defects. A faulty design left people with severe injuries, further need for surgery, and lost wages. If you’ve had hip replacement surgery or are considering it, it’s important to better understand the consequences of the DePuy Pinnacle’s defects, symptoms associated with its poor design, and what occurred in these multi-district trials.
Understanding the DePuy Pinnacle Hip Replacement System
Unlike traditional hip replacement systems, which are made of porcelain, the DePuy Pinnacle hip is a metal-on-metal system. Though metal was thought to offer a more durable option, many metal-related problems have surfaced. Complaints against the DePuy Pinnacle system include:
- Failure to properly design the product, including the choice to use a titanium coating, which is known to corrode
- Failure to adequately test the product, using an expedited 510(k) clearance through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- Failure to warn doctors of potential for patient harm, despite knowing the risks
- Failure rate of 40 percent within 5 years of implantation, which is 8 times higher than rates among other devices
Symptoms Associated With the Defective Hip
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases (NIAMD) reports that 332,000 hip replacements occur each year and offer improved quality of life. Although the DePuy Pinnacle implants were expected to give patients 15 years or more of a healthier, active lifestyle, some began seeing symptoms of failure within a few months. These include:
- Weakened bone and muscle. Because fragments of the metal would splinter and lodge into the surrounding tissue and bone, patients experienced pain, weakness, and poor hip functioning.
- Tissue inflammation. Johnson & Johnson used cobalt and chromium in the DePuy Pinnacle system, which can lead to allergic reactions and inflammation. Additionally, the pieces that splinter off can cause irritation.
- Metallosis. A type of metal poisoning, metallosis is also due to particles from the replacement releasing into the patient’s body. The metal pieces build up and begin to leech into the bloodstream, which can lead to severe toxicity.
Get Help With Your Defective Replacement Hip
The DePuy Pinnacle lawsuit was a combination of five similar cases, and the plaintiffs were compensated for their economic losses, as well as pain and suffering. Johnson & Johnson ceased the sale of the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement in 2013, but other defective systems still exist on the market. If you need legal assistance in a defective hip replacement case, contact the Holton Law Firm. We have the experience and strategies you need for a positive outcome. Use our live online chat to get started.