The HSE has recalled 247 individuals who underwent hemiarthroplasties at Cork University Hospital in the period between 2005 and 2008.
10 patients have already undergone repair surgery and six more have been scheduled to be operated on in the new year. Other patients are being kept under ongoing review to determine whether repair surgery will be required in the future.
The prosthetic devices which are the cause of the problems which are being experienced were mostly used in elderly patients.
Hemiarthroplasty is a surgical procedure which replaces one half of the joint with an artificial surface and leaves the other part in its natural state. The procedure is performed by removing the head of the femur and replacing it with a metal or composite prosthesis to treat fractures, leaving the acetabulum intact.
The review was ordered by the HSE after 17 people who had undergone the procedure to deal with hip fractures experienced problems shortly after the surgery had been carried out.
In total, 417 people had the operation in which this specific combination of prosthetic components was used.
While the DePuy ASR device is not implicated in these particular cases, it is interesting to note that, as with many DePuy patients, a particular problem which has been observed is a loosening of the prosthesis.
Some 139 of the 247 individuals who were recalled for x-rays and follow-up examination attended, with 10 having undergone revision surgery so far.
The problems which have arisen appear to be as a result of the combination of components, which were manufactured by separate companies. The nature of the fault has not yet been reported publicly and tests are said to be continuing.
While the outcome of these test results will have to be awaited, the question obviously arises as to whether or not one or more of the components manufactured by the respective companies was defective in nature such as to give rise to liability to the affected patients under the Liability for Defective Products Act, 1991.
Another question which will need to be addressed is whether or not the HSE was negligent in choosing to use this particular combination of components from separate companies to make up the composite prosthetic devices which were implanted.
If you have been affected by this hip repair recall and would like to arrange a free initial consultation with John McCarthy feel free to call him on 023 883 3348.