An article in Reuters reported that the Stryker Corporation recently increased its low-end expectations for the costs surrounding a hip implant recall, which began last summer. Now, Stryker estimates that it will spend between $190 million and $390 million for patient testing, patient treatments, new surgeries, lawsuits, and related insurance payments.
Soon after Stryker indicated the increased costs associated with the recall in July 2012, PR Web ran an article reporting on the increasing number of law firms hired to investigate Stryker hip implants on behalf of patients who have been affected by the recall.
History of the Hip Implant Recall
In February of 2009, the FDA approved the Stryker hip implants for market release. Only three years later, Stryker began notifying surgeons that the devices were at risk of corrosion. Soon after, plans were underway for a recall in North America.
By July 2012, Stryker recalled its Rejuvenate and ABG II Modular-Hip Neck Stem devices after Stryker acquired determinative data indicating that certain components of the implant were “at risk for fretting and corrosion at the modular neck stem.”
What does this mean for patients with the implants? According to the Palm Beach Post, these medical terms refer to “microscopic cracks and wear,” as well as “metal ions dispersing into nearby tissues.” As a result, patients with the recalled implants can experience “pain, swelling, and adverse local tissue reactions.” In the long term, there are also concerns that the devices can cause cancer.
Because Stryker sold 20,000 implants prior to its recall, the corporation has indicated that thousands of people have likely been affected by the recalled devices.
Dianne Pingel, a resident of Boca Raton, Florida, is the first Rejuvenate patient to file a lawsuit against Stryker. Since undergoing surgery, Pingel has difficulty walking after recovering from five separate surgeries related to the hip implant. Pingel’s left hip was replaced with a Stryker device in 2011, followed by surgery to replace her right hip in 2012. The right hip implant has since been removed, but the left implant is causing “tumor like swelling” and needs to be replaced. Since she underwent surgery for the Stryker implants, she has experienced multiple medical issues and has required successive surgeries and treatments. Since Pingel filed suit, hundreds of clients have also filed lawsuits against Stryker.
What are the Current effects of the Recall?
According to data from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), at least 45 different adverse event reports have been associated with the recalled devices. Stryker is not the only corporation dealing with a growing number of metal hip implant failures. In addition to the Stryker recall, the Johnson & Johnson recall stands out as evidence of the danger posed by these types of implant devices. In fact, the FDA recently reported that metal-on-metal hip implants more often than not have adverse effects on patients.
The number of lawsuits pending against Stryker continues to grow. Most recently, ten Stryker hip lawsuits were consolidated by the New Jersey Supreme Court, and that number is expected to increase as more lawsuits are filed.
What to Do if You Have Been Affected?
According to Reuters, Stryker advised all patients with the recalled devices to contact their physicians, even if they are not currently experiencing pain or other adverse effects from the hip implant. In order to evaluate the implanted devices, patients may need to undergo a variety of tests, including X-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds, and blood and imaging tests. More importantly, patients may have a legal claim against Stryker. If you have undergone hip replacement surgery, speak to an experienced attorney today about your options.