DePUY ASR HIP RECALL – WHAT INFORMATION WILL I NEED TO MAKE MY CLAIM?

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION AND RELATED BLOG ENTRIES VISIT OUR DEDICATED DePUY HIP IMPLANT RECALL PAGE

Since the announcement by DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. on the 26th August 2010 that it was issuing a worldwide recall of both its ASR XL acetabular system (total hip replacement) and its DePuy ASR hip resurfacing system (hip resurfacing) we have been instructed by people from all over the country to bring claims against DePuy for personal injuries as a result of medical negligence and liability for defective products.

Not surprisingly, the first question that we are invariably asked by people who have been affected by the ASR hip recall is, quite sensibly: “what steps should I take to take a claim against DePuy?”

While each case is obviously different and it is important that you obtain specific legal advice regarding the unique circumstances of your individual claim, the following are some general guidelines.

SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE WITHOUT DELAY

Your claim for damages for medical negligence and defective products liability is obviously extremely important and we will do all we can to ensure that you get the compensation to which you are entitled.  However, as we’ve made clear in earlier blog entries, by far the most important consideration is your physical well being.

Most people affected by the ASR recall will in all likelihood have been contacted directly by the HSE at this stage and asked to present themselves at the out-patients’ department of their treating hospital for blood tests and X-rays.

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, 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 not, unless you are experiencing difficulties or discomfort, you have nothing to worry about.  If, however, you receive confirmation that an ASR system was indeed used in your case, you should immediately arrange to have tests carried out to determine what follow-up treatment is required.

DO NOT SUBMIT TO DePUY’S UNREASONABLE DEMANDS

DePuy has had the nerve to tell patients affected by the ASR recall that they will not have the costs of their treatment covered unless they first hand over all of their previous medical records and a signed consent form in wording prepared by DePuy.  DePuy is further demanding that the faulty hip device is handed over to it after the follow-up surgery has been completed.

DePuy has quite rightly been slated for adopting this position, from which it is clear that it is trying to induce people into compromising their ability to bring a claim in return for medical treatment.  For this reason 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 to ensure that we have all of the information necessary to seek damages for medical negligence and liability for being supplied with a defective product, there is nothing like setting down your experience in writing, from the time you first had implant surgery onwards, as soon as possible.

Even the sharpest mind will over time forget details which might prove significant in advancing your claim.  Also, the discipline of writing your experience down has the very beneficial effect of forcing your mind to put some order on the memories you have concerning your treatment.

A written account of your experience in your own words will be very helpful in seeking damages on your behalf.  But if, for any reason, you don’t feel able to prepare one, don’t worry – we’ll make sure we get sufficient information from you to vindicate your rights.

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 two grounds.

The first of these will be compensation for the pain and suffering which you have suffered from or will suffer from in the future.

The second ground will be re-imbursement for all costs and expenses which you have already borne or will incur in the future 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.  Examples would include any loss of wages which you suffer from as a result of taking time off work for medical examination, treatment or recuperation, travel expenses in getting to and from your home to your treatment centre, fees paid to doctors and other medical professionals, and the costs of any pain killers and other medication you may have to buy.  This list isn’t intended to be exhaustive.  If you think there is any other expense which has arisen because of receiving a defective ASR hip implant, keep a record of it – we’ll be able to advise you whether or not it will be recoverable.

KEEP A DIARY OF YOUR SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

As mentioned above, your claim for compensation will in large part be for the pain and suffering which you have had to endure or will experience in the future because of receiving a faulty hip implant.  For obvious reasons of self-preservation we are psychologically programmed to black out negative or traumatic experiences and memories.

Medical negligence cases can take some time to bring to a conclusion.  As time progresses your recollection of the pain levels which you encounter may well fade.  If you are asked in a few years’ time how you felt today you will quite understandably not be anywhere as clear about your experience at that level of remove as you are at the present.  The fact that time has dulled your memory doesn’t for one minute take away from any pain or discomfort which you will have endured.

You should, therefore, make the effort to write down how you feel on a daily basis before, during and after treatment.  If you are lucky enough not to have suffered any pain or discomfort on any given day then, great, write that down.

GET LEGAL ADVICE

John McCarthy is quoted extensively in the Irish Times Health Supplement on legal issues for people affected by the DePuy Orthopaedics ASR Hip Implant Recall:

Irish Times Health Supplement Article Tuesday 14th September 2010

While the above guidelines are provided with a view to assisting people with a claim nothing can take the place of legal advice based on your individual circumstances.

If you wish to discuss the specifics of your case with a solicitor in confidence call John McCarthy now on 023 883 3348 or email him at john@mccarthy.ie to arrange a free initial consultation.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION AND RELATED BLOG ENTRIES VISIT OUR DEDICATED DePUY HIP IMPLANT RECALL PAGE

In contentious business a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

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*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

John specialises in personal injury and medical negligence claims. His practice focuses on high value compensation cases. He has extensive experience in this area of litigation for over 10 years. Read more