In August 2010, DePuy Orthopedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson, recalled the ASR XL Acetabular System, a prosthesis used in total hip replacements in the United States and around the world. Approximately 93,000 of the defective prostheses have been surgically implanted. The failure rate--around 13%--is extraordinarily high because of the metal-on-metal surface, which releases metals into the body. Some patients have had severe reactions, including pain, swelling, and loosening of the prosthesis.
Now DePuy Orthopedics is trying to gather evidence directly from physicians about their patients. Physicians are being asked to obtain medical authorizations from their patients which will allow the physicians to release medical information directly to the manufacturer of the defective product. If you have a DePuy prostheses, we suggest that you not authorize the release of your medical records to DePuy. Instead, you should consult with a competent attorney who is handling these product liability cases and who can advise you as to your rights and as to the best course of action before releasing any information.
It may be that you are planning on an operation to replace the whole hip prosthesis or just the acetabular component. If so, you should make sure that the device is preserved as evidence. You should ask for and obtain the device from the hospital. If they refuse to give it to you, you should ensure that they preserve it for future inspection and analysis.
If you are asked to give a blood sample to the device manufacturer, you should probably decline. If your physician asks for a blood sample to determine whether or not you have metallic particles in your blood, you should certainly comply as that is in your medical best interest.
In summary, if you think you may have defective DePuy hip prosthesis, the first thing you should do is consult your orthopedic surgeon. The next thing you should do is retain an experienced and attorney to advise you as to your rights to recover for your injuries associated with this device. You should avoid direct contact with the manufacturer or their representatives. An experienced attorney will be able to best assist you with not only obtaining the best possible medical care but also will ensure that all of your rights to possible compensation are protected.
The lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck, P.C. of Boston have over 75 years of combined experience representing individuals who have been injured by defective products, including defective medical devices. If you have questions about your potential rights, we would be pleased to provide you with a free consultation.