The Business Day section of the New York Times late last month had yet another story chronicling the trials and tribulations of those who are dealing with the aftermath of defective artificial hips. Blog readers are well aware of the DePuy hip recall saga, which has affected thousands of patients across the country, including many in our area. As Chicago DePuy hip recall lawyers, we’ve talked frequently about the various legal aspects of this recall.
However, what has received less attention is the day-to-day struggles faced by those who have had to endure the consequences of these faulty medical devices. As the latest article notes, the metal-on-metal hip recall is now quite clearly the largest medical implant failure in the last several decades. The effect on victims has been severe. One Illinois DePuy hip recall victim was profiled. The victim explained how he was forced to essentially go five months without a left hip at all. Obviously his life’s activities during that time were severely curtailed. He reported that he had little to do except sit in a recliner while waiting to regain his mobility.
The financial costs for the victim were high as medical bills mounted quickly. When he finally underwent the operation to replace the defective product he faced another complication-his pelvis had been damaged in the replacement surgery. That was followed by an infection setting in. All told, he has already mounted nearly half a million dollars in hospitalization charges and doctors’ bills. Of course, the medical bills are just one of the “costs” faced by the victim. He noted that he spent months stuck in a La-Z-Boy recliner meant for someone in their eighties. He is only 55-years old. The overall effect on his life cannot truly be comprehended.
It is frustrating enough that any victim is forced to deal with this sort of injury, but it is particularly troubling that thousands may be in the same situation because of medical device errors. Patients were told (and believed) that these devices would last 15 years or more. Part of their calculus in deciding to have the implant was based on that assessment, weighing the potential benefits and potential risks. Yet, when the information on the quality of the devices turned out to be radically inaccurate, they faced significant consequences as a result. Our Chicago nursing home neglect lawyers know that local seniors are far and away the ones most affected by this problem. Obviously, hip implants are more frequently had by those in their golden years-often residing in assisted-living facilities.
What is particularly upsetting about this situation is that involved experts have explained that the vast majority of these metal-on-metal hip replacements were actually not found to be any better than older models. The most recent study in the area (which involved both knee and hip replacements) found that no new device released in the last five years was of any better quality than before. In fact, 30% of the new devices were actually found to be worse than older products. This highlights the unfortunate trend that in the medical device community that “new” is assumed to be better. “New” devices often get pushed on unsuspecting patients before the reliability and benefit of those devices is fully. The result is the current devastation wrought upon thousands by implants that hurt many more recipients than acceptable.
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