Hip replacement surgery has come a long way. Since 1891, when a physician in Germany introduced a prosthetic hip joint crafted from ivory—some later implants used tissue from pigs’ bladders—the materials have become progressively more advanced. The surgery itself has become less invasive, and the average recovery time has shrunk from several months to just a couple of weeks. Some patients are back on their feet within a few days. It’s not surprising, therefore, to discover that artificial hip implantation has become an increasingly popular option for people whose natural hip joints have begun to cause them pain or hinder their mobility, due to age or to careers or lifestyles that have taken their toll. About 2.5 million Americans are equipped with artificial hip joints, according to data published by Mayo Clinic researchers in 2014. Unfortunately for some of those hip implant recipients, the cure has turned out to be worse than the malady. Thousands of people who received certain types of hip implants over the past 10 to 15 years have been sickened, injured, or forced to undergo numerous, otherwise unnecessary surgical procedures to replace the same artificial joints that once promised to restore their health. These improperly designed implants were intended to last for 15 years or longer, but have instead failed after just a few years. Two of the problem implants, the ASR and the Pinnacle, were manufactured by DePuy, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. DePuy recalled the ASR after their data showed that more than a third of the units were failing before they were five years old. DePuy agreed in 2013 to pay about $2.5 billion to 8,000 patients, many of whom had to undergo corrective surgery that would otherwise have been unnecessary. Other class action suits over the ASR still are in the works. DePuy never recalled the Pinnacle, despite evidence that it was causing many of the same issues as the ASR. Instead, DePuy quietly discontinued sales of the Pinnacle and has yet to offer any compensation to its recipients. Many other patients who still have this generation of hip implants in their bodies also have been excluded from the various class action settlements. Some were left out because they opted to pursue independent legal actions against the device manufacturers. Others, however, are not covered because their hip implants haven’t failed … yet. Other implant failures did more than rob patients of their ability to walk. Two hip replacement implants made by Stryker Corporation, the Rejuvenate and the ABG II, leaked metallic compounds into patients’ bodies, causing problems ranging from localized inflammation to blood poisoning. In 2014, Stryker agreed to pay affected patients an average of about $300,000 each. As with the DePuy settlements, though, patients whose Rejuvenate and ABG II implants fail after the settlement date are not covered. They must pursue individual legal actions against the company. That’s where Scartelli Olszewski comes in. If you have a hip implant that has been implicated in premature failure or other incidents, your first call should be to your physician. Your second call should be to us. Maybe your replacement hip feels fine today. But it may not stay that way. If the day comes when your artificial hip takes your legs out from under you, the personal injury attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski will help you get back on your feet.
Peter Paul Olszewski, Jr., a shareholder and managing partner at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., brings 37 years of litigation experience. He is a renowned trial lawyer in Pennsylvania, specializing in medical malpractice, personal injury, and criminal defense. Peter's notable achievements include securing multi-million-dollar verdicts and serving as District Attorney and Judge. He is committed to community involvement and is actively engaged in various legal associations.
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