Loose regulations allow hip replacement manufacturers to put Nevada seniors at risk
In our conversations about healthcare in the United States, we tend to focus on access to care: Who should be insured? At what personal cost? What medical services should be provided? One thing we tend to take for granted is the quality and safety of these medical interventions, but this is an assumption we make at our own peril. A new wave of Nevada product liability lawsuits is focusing on major medical devices that appear to have been rushed to market, to the detriment of hundreds of users.
This August will mark one year since DePuy Orthopedics — a division of health-and-beauty giant Johnson & Johnson — issued a massive product recall for thousands of its ASR artificial hip implants. Synthetic hip implants are designed to simulate the hip socket that holds the ball of the femur bone in place while permitting it to rotate. As a person ages out of middle age and begins considering options such as transitioning to a Nevada assisted care facility, the hip joints are often among the first to wear out and make movement difficult or painful. The ASR device attracted thousands of eager users by promising an industry-leading 15-year lifespan, but hundreds of elderly patients endured painful implant surgeries only for these devices to fail or need replacement within five years.
Failure rates for the ASR were two to three times higher than is common for these devices (sometimes known as “critical implants”), with approximately one out of every six requiring replacement or secondary surgery. The most common problem is the product’s tendency to shed tiny particles of metal that intoxicate surrounding muscle and bone tissues and leave large dead areas in the upper thigh. To be clear, investigations have determined that these symptoms were not related to unsound installation or other medical malpractice — the devices themselves were defective. Patients were treated with bad medicine.
Critics blame a flawed regulatory system for this latest round of Nevada medical device injuries. Unlike in the pharmaceutical industry — where patent laws prevent copycat products and approval by the Food and Drug Administration requires clinical trials — medical device manufacturers can circumvent the toughest scrutiny and testing by incorporating new technologies into older, proven designs to take advantage of a fast-track loophole. Observers say the FDA should end this workaround and create an orthopedic registry that could better track medical device failures. Other countries have successfully implemented these reforms to make patients safer without limiting new, helpful, and safe developments in medical technology.
If a loved one received an ASR hip implant and now suffers from increased pain, seek medical attention to determine if the device may be degrading within the person’s body or otherwise failing. If you discover that this is the case, contact us for a free consultation about seeking compensation for the medical device injury.