The ball and socket joint, more commonly known as the hip joint, is one of the largest joints in the human body. Its major function is to support the upper body in various activities, including walking, running or standing; it also enables a person to perform certain movements, such as bending and stretching.
Hip joints are made up of bones that are connected by tough tissues, called ligaments, and strong muscles which hold the hip joint together and prevent it from becoming dislocated. Ligaments are lubricated with fluid so as to reduce the friction between bones, while another kind of tissue, called the cartilage, surrounds the joints to prevent the bones from rubbing against each other.
Despite the ligaments and the muscles that protect the hip joint, there are still instances when this joint gets damaged, such as when a person suffers: hip fracture due to a fall or an accident; rheumatoid arthritis, which occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints’ lining; or osteoarthritis, or wear and tear of the arthritis, a condition wherein the cartilage becomes worn away, resulting to the rubbing of the bones.
A damaged hip joint, which causes persistent pain and makes everyday activities harder to perform, needs to be replaced. Replacement will be an artificial joint, known as prosthesis – this can be made from metal alloy or ceramic.
Hip joint replacement is done through surgery, a medical practice which began in the 1960s. Its purpose is to improve a person’s quality of life by relieving him/her of the pain due to damaged hip, as well as improving the function of his/her hip and ability to move around.
One product which became a well-accepted hip joint replacement was the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular metal-on-metal hip replacement. This Johnson & Johnson product was cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for distribution in 2005. As it was the first orthopedic company in the U.S., DePuy Orthopaedics become a trusted name and was able to maintain leadership in the hip replacement business for more than 40 years.
According to the law firm Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, however, the fame of the DePuy ASR hip replacement was not able to hide the serious problems which caused patients (implanted with the device) to develop severe medical conditions or require additional surgery. The damaging effects the DePuy device has been linked with include dangerous, even deadly, fragments from the device spreading inside the body, bone fracture, component misalignment, loosening components, metal sensitivity, dislocation, pain, bone staining, increased levels of metal ion in the blood, metal toxicity or metal poisoning, infection, swelling, necrosis (or tissue death), and nerve, muscle and tissue damage.
In 2008 and onwards, about 400 complaints have reached the FDA concerning revision surgeries on patients who have been implanted with the DePuy ASR hip replacement. Due to the complaints and the side effects the device has been linked to, DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. issued a recall on the devide on August 24, 2010. With more than a million patients worldwide having received the DePuy hip implant, more lawsuits are expected to be filed.
Defective medical devices is just one area of the various frightening realities which make up the issue of medical malpractice. Liable parties, whether manufacturers of pharmaceutical products or medical health professionals need to be brought to justice; harmed patients, on the other hand, have the legal right to seek compensation for all the damages these defective devices may cause them. Being represented by a skilled, experienced and determined lawyer may be a necessity to make sure that the injured victim gets the compensation that he/she legally deserves.