On the 26th August 2010 DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. – a division of Johnson & Johnson – announced a worldwide recall of both its ASR XL acetabular total hip replacement system and its DePuy ASR hip resurfacing system.
The recall was prompted by recently published data showing that the five-year revision rate was approximately 12% for the ASR articular surface systems and 13% for the ASR XL acetabular system.
The HSE has confirmed that approximately 70,000 hip replacements have taken place in Ireland since July of 2003 when the DePuy ASR products first became available and that approximately 5% of these will be affected by the recall, with figures provided by DePuy indicating that 3,516 of the defective products were sold in Ireland. The HSE has stated that hospitals will be contacting all affected patients directly and that it will take all steps necessary to ensure patients receive appropriate follow-up treatment.
If you suspect that you or a loved one has received one of these defective implants you should heed the following guidelines.
SEEK A MEDICAL EXAMINATION IMMEDIATELY
If you have had a hip implant at any time between July of 2003 and the present, irrespective of whether or not the HSE has been in contact with you yet, you should contact your GP or orthopaedic surgeon to establish whether either of the ASR XL acetabular systems or the ASR hip resurfacing systems was used in your case. If it is confirmed that an ASR system was indeed used in your procedure, you should immediately arrange to have the appropriate blood tests and X-rays carried out to determine what follow-up treatment is required.
DO NOT SIGN ANY DOCUMENTS PREPARED BY DePUY
DePuy has attempted to force patients who are affected by the ASR recall to hand over all of their previous medical records together with a signed consent form in wording prepared by DePuy before it will agree to pay for the costs of treatment. It is further insisting that the faulty hip device must be handed over to it after the follow-up surgery has been completed. You should not comply with this request under any circumstances. Having regard to this clear evidence of DePuy’s motivation to attempt to neutralise patients’ claims as a condition of its willingness to pay for treatment, it is extremely important that you contact us before you undergo any medical examinations or procedures to ensure that you do not unwittingly undermine your entitlement to seek compensation from DePuy.
RECORD AS MUCH DETAIL AS POSSIBLE REGARDING YOUR TREATMENT
While we will obviously take detailed instructions from you regarding the circumstances of your case, a written account of your experience in your own words will be very helpful in seeking damages on your behalf. The sooner this is done the better so that you can recall as much detail as possible.
KEEP DETAILS OF ALL COSTS AND EXPENSES
When bringing a claim against DePuy for medical negligence and defective products liability, your entitlement to damages will be based on the grounds of compensation for pain and suffering and re-imbursement for all costs and expenses incurred as a consequence of having been fitted with one of these faulty ASR hip systems. You should therefore keep a detailed record of all costs and out-of-pocket expenses you find yourself paying for as a result, including: any loss of wages which you suffer from as a result of taking time off work for medical examination, treatment or recuperation; travel expenses; fees paid to doctors, physiotherapists and other medical professionals; the costs of any pain killers and other medication you may have to buy; and any other expense of any kind associated with your treatment.
KEEP A DIARY OF YOUR SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT
You should make the effort to write down how you feel on a daily basis before, during and after treatment. This will assist us in ensuring that we secure the maximum amount of compensation possible on your behalf for your pain and suffering.
TAKE LEGAL ADVICE WITHOUT DELAY
Each patient’s circumstances are different, meaning that appropriate legal advice can only be given to you once we have taken detailed instructions from you. You should also bear in mind that there are strict time limits for bringing a personal injuries claim based on medical negligence and liability for defective products and we would therefore urge you to make contact with us without delay.
Since DePuy announced the recall of its ASR hip replacement systems John McCarthy has blogged extensively on the legal issues surrounding the recall (see below) and he has been interviewed on the subject by the Irish Times. He is already representing several patients located throughout the country who have been affected by these defective hip replacement systems. If you would like to arrange a free initial consultation with John now you can call or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your case in complete confidence and without commitment.