Hip Replacement Recall Lawsuit
Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Replacement Recall
In 2007, Smith & Nephew recalled about 185 Birmingham hip resurfacing system implants over improper packaging by a subcontractor. As a result of the packaging error, it was reported that different sizes of acetabular cups were mixed and mislabeled. A number of patients have complained of having received wrong-sized hips, which has forced them to undergo a revision surgery to remove and replace the improperly fitting hip that has been wearing out quickly and causing extreme complications for them.
Smith & Nephew blamed the error on a subcontractor that mislabeled thedevices, which caused a mismatch between the two hip implants. This meant that patients requiring a hip device of a different size received a mislabeled hip implant, which resulted in their hip implant failure.
The mismatched pieces result in loosely fitting implants. Patients that have undergone hip replacement surgery using Smith & Nephew Birmingham hip device are advised to consult their doctors and go for a post-operation X-ray to confirm whether they have properly fitting implants.
In case they are found to have the improperly fitting hip device, revision surgery is the only solution.
Federal Drug Administration warned Smith & Nephew PLC about the quality control problems at one of the company’s plants in Germany, which manufactures hip replacement implants. The warning letter calls for corrective action at Smith & Nephew’s Tuttlingen, Germany, production unit, where R3 Ceramic Acetabular System is manufactured. Before issuing the warning, FDA inspection teams visited the plant in July 2010 and raised a few serious concerns, including failure of the company to confirm validity of the Germany plant’s maximum and minimum settings for equipment used to press titanium rings. The company’s response to the concerns was deemed insufficient by the FDA.
The inspection team also found that the Germany plant did not verify that corrective actions to fix a problem with radiation-sterilized plants were actually working. The FDA inspectors found that no procedure was in place at the plant facility to ensure that the fixes were working. However, the plant put the entire blame on its employees’ failure to follow the new procedure. The FDA inspection report found that the company’s processes to validate the quality of its products lacked in numerous areas.
Two patients have reportedly suffered the most due to mislabeling error at the Smith & Nephew production unit. They have talked about their nightmare as a result of the implantation of the mislabeled and loosely fitting hip, which caused numerous fractures and exposed them to extreme pain. They complain that as a result of implantation of a wrong-size hip, they have been left to spend their lives in a wheelchair, thus devastating them and their families for life.
Many other patients complain of experiencing extreme pain and sleepless nights due to the loosely fitting hip implant, which, in many cases, has failed and fractured. Some patients that received Smith & Nephew titanium hip replacements have complained of suffering from Metallosis as a result of grinding and popping of the loose hip, which has resulted in cobalt and chromium entering the blood stream and floating around in the body, causing kidneys to overwork and leaving them in extreme pain, with a revision surgery remaining as the only alternative. However, for many patients, a revision surgery has also failed, leaving them with the only option to go for another surgery, with a longer recovery time. Many patients complain of having lost mobility due to loss of adductor muscles and soft tissue, forcing them to walk only with a crutch.
The metal-on-metal Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System is surgically implanted to replace a hip joint damaged due to degenerative diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, traumatic arthritis, avascular necrosis, or dysplasia; improve hip function; and relieve hip pain.
However, this metal-on-metal hip device has proved troublesome for many patients, who have experienced metallosis and extreme pain due to deposition of fluid and debris around the hip joint as a result of the wearing off of the metal particles. In such a case, the hip cup impinges or rubs on surrounding muscle, which eventually causes the joint to wear off, resulting in metal ion poisoning and generating immense pain.
Many patients have experienced flu-like symptoms, including lethargy, headaches, aching joints, and a feeling of malaise. So far, more than 50,000 patients have received Birmingham Hip Resurfacing implants, and that the number of affected patients is on the rise.
Smith & Nephew Hip Replacement Implant Recalls
Earlier, Smith & Nephew recalled their Oxinium Profix II and Oxinium Genesis knee replacement systems over reports that the knee replacement devices did not bond properly, thus putting patients at an increased risk of infection, extreme pain, and joint and muscular damage. The patients even had to undergo a revision surgery for the removal and replacement of their defective knee devices, which was also not devoid of other complications. At the time of the recall, the manufacturer reported a one percent revision rate. But the number of secondary surgeries increased many-fold thereafter, with more than 765 patients having to undergo revision surgery.
Other Hip Replacement Recalls
A number of other hip implants have been recalled recently due to problems with replacement devices that can cause fracture, pain, infection, following which patients have been forced to undergo a revision surgery. It has been found that the at-risk hips tend to fracture within 19-28 months of implantation. Some of the artificial hip manufacturers that have been forced to recall their defective products include Apex Surgical, Encore Orthopedics, Stryker Howmedica, Sulzer Inter-Op Acetabular Shell, Zimmer, Biomet, and DePuy Orthopedics.