We've never seen anything quite like this. The device was recalled over a year ago, but many patients are only recently becoming aware of their cobalt and chromium blood levels and the implications to their health.
Sacramento, California (PRWEB) January 11, 2012
According to the medical device lawyers at Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff, 2010 brought what New York Times* recently called "the most widespread medical implant failure in decades." 2011 brought widespread interest in the effects of cobalt and chromium toxicity. And 2012 could usher in one of the largest payouts in orthopedic device history.
The DePuy ASR hip replacement system was recalled in August 2010 due to a flaw in the design that caused excessive friction between the metal parts, releasing cobalt and chromium ions into the patients' blood stream. In many hip replacement patients, this resulted in higher infection rates, the formation of "pseudo tumors" and the rejection of the hip implant itself. Since then, other metal-on-metal hip implants have come under scrutiny by the FDA and claims have arisen involving another DePuy metal hip, the DePuy Pinnacle system. In May of 2011, the FDA required 21 manufacturers of metal hips to participate in post market surveillance studies and gather blood test results of their patients' cobalt and chromium levels.
According to medical device lawyers at Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff, who developed a website that specifically addresses the implications of high cobalt and chromium blood levels, web traffic surged as patients anxiously researched the potential dangers of their metal-on-metal hip replacements. Since they launched http://www.cobalt-chromium-toxicity.com last March, the site has received over 875,000 hits and their online videos have received over 16,000 views from concerned patients and their loved ones trying to understand the meaning of their high cobalt blood levels.
"We've never seen anything quite like this," says medical device lawyer Stuart Talley. "The device was recalled over a year ago, but many patients are only recently becoming aware of their cobalt and chromium blood levels and the implications to their health."
According to Talley, they set up the cobalt toxicity website after interviewing an expert in metal toxicology in an effort to answer the many questions their clients were asking.
"Nobody's giving them direct answers, and the medical data unfortunately hasn't been widely circulated on the internet," Talley explained. "So we took matters into our own hands by contacting experts, attending conferences and researching medical journals to find the answers our clients were seeking."
As patients learn more about their cobalt and chromium blood levels, speculation has begun to buzz about how much this will cost the hip replacement manufacturers. Forbes Magazine** ran a story last month predicting that Johnson & Johnson (parent company to DePuy) and Zimmer Holdings, two of the main manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip implants, may end up paying out over $5 billion in settlements and legal costs arising from hip replacement lawsuits.
Patients who have received a metal hip implant, particularly the recalled DePuy ASR or the all metal version of the DePuy Pinnacle, are encouraged to discuss their situation with a medical device lawyer before it's too late to make a claim. Most states have time limits that restrict how long a person can wait after they learned of their medical issue before making a claim against the negligent party, and for many this time is drawing near.
Additionally, for patients concerned about their cobalt or chromium blood levels, this article explains the proper protocol for requesting cobalt and chromium blood testing from a laboratory: http://www.cobalt-chromium-toxicity.com/accurate-cobalt-chromium-testing.html
Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff represents individuals and businesses in personal injury lawsuits, insurance bad faith cases, product liability cases and class action lawsuits. They have demonstrated their ability to devote substantial resources in pharmaceutical lawsuits, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, consumer fraud, defective medical devices and wage and hour lawsuits, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in recoveries for their clients and the classes they have represented.