Faulty Hip Replacements

Faulty Hip Replacements in Ireland

Many people who have had hip replacement surgery will be aware of recent media coverage concerning the DePuy ASR hip replacement recall in Ireland. However faulty hip replacements in Ireland are not a new phenomenon. In the late 1990s, Depuy withdrew its Hylamer Polyethylene Bearing Surface product from the market after a higher than expected failure rate was identified and, in 2001, faulty hip replacements containing zirconia ceramic femoral heads were recalled for the same reason – again by DePuy Orthopaedics Inc.

Faulty hip replacements in Ireland are not solely attributable to DePuy Orthopaedics. In the past ten years, faulty hip replacements have been recalled by Smith & Nephew, Biomet, Wright Medical and Zimmer – all of these companies (and DePuy Orthopaedics) currently defending, or preparing to defend, class action suits from patients claiming compensation for injuries from faulty hip replacements. With so much litigation in progress, it is recommended that you speak with a personal injury solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity should you believe you are entitled to compensation for faulty hip replacements in Ireland.

What Are Faulty Hip Replacements?

Faulty hip replacements are generally acknowledged to be those which “fail” before the industry standard of fifteen years. A “failure” does not necessarily entitle you to make a claim for faulty hip replacements compensation, as an accepted failure rate of 5 per cent is permitted before a product is regarded as faulty. To put this figure into context, when the DePuy ASR hip replacement in Ireland was announced, the failure rate for the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System was 13 per cent.

Symptoms that patients implanted with faulty hip replacements may encounter include:-

  • Pain, inflammation or rashes around the hip area
  • Clicking, popping or grinding sounds coming from implant
  • Loosening of the Implant (leading to eventual dislocation of the implant)
  • Unexplained hip pain, thigh pain or groin pain – especially when carrying heavy items
  • Pain when walking or rising from a seated position
  • The development of cysts due to cobalt poisoning from faulty hip implants

Any revision surgery required to replace faulty hip replacements is painful and requires a longer than normal rehabilitation period however, when the hip bone or tissues surrounding the hip have sustained damage due to faulty hip replacements, the surgery is more complicated and has a lower chance of complete success.

Get Medical Advice about Faulty Hip Replacements

Should you start to experience any of the above symptoms of faulty hip replacements, your first priority should be to consult your family doctor. Your doctor should order an x-ray of your hip and a precautionary blood test. In circumstances where a particularly high level of cobalt or chromium is detected in the blood, your doctor may also order an MRI scan to determine whether any of your vital organs have been damaged due to the metallic ions released by friction between the ball and cup of the faulty hip replacements.

In cases where you have received one of the recalled DePuy faulty hip replacements, there should be no charge for this medical examination. However, DO NOT SIGN THE DEPUY CONSENT FORM or any other paperwork releasing the Health Service Executive from liability for your injuries. If you are required to pay for an x-ray or any other medical treatment, keep your receipts to recover the costs when you make a claim for faulty hip replacements compensation.

Making a Claim for Faulty Hip Replacements Compensation

You will need to engage the services of a solicitor in order to make claims for faulty hip replacements compensation, as the Injuries Board Ireland will not assess claims for injuries sustained due to faulty hip replacements. A solicitor will examine your doctor´s assessment, discuss with you what effect the faulty hip replacements have made to your quality of life and ability to work, and establish whether you have a claim for faulty hip replacements compensation which is worth your while to pursue.

Depending on the brand of the faulty hip replacement, your personal circumstances and which faulty hip replacement class action suits are in progress, the solicitor will have a variety of options available to pursue a claim for faulty hip replacements compensation. He will advise you which route he considers best for you, how long a claim for faulty hip replacements compensation may take, what costs may be incurred in pursuing your claim and how much compensation for faulty hip replacements you should be entitled to receive.

What You Can Include in a Faulty Hip Replacements Claim

No two claims for faulty hip replacements compensation are identical, as the personal and financial impact a hip replacement injury has on an individual will differ from case to case. This is why it may not always be in your best interests to join in a class action suit and you will be advised by your solicitor whether it would be beneficial to pursue an individual claim for faulty hip replacements compensation.

In your claim, you will be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering endured prior to revision surgery, the pain and suffering of revision surgery and the pain and suffering throughout your recovery period. You will also be able to claim psychological damages provided it can be demonstrated that you suffered an emotional trauma due to the negligence of the hip replacement manufacturer, and claim faulty hip replacements compensation for the effect the faulty hip replacement has had on your ability to enjoy a full and active life.

You will also be entitled to claim faulty hip replacements compensation for any financial costs you have incurred in seeking medical treatment, alternative transportation while you are unable to drive and for any loss of wages (including overtime, promotion prospects and pension contributions) you have experienced due to a lengthy period of disability and rehabilitation. Your solicitor will explain each element of a faulty hip replacements compensation claim – and how it applies to you personally – when you speak with him or her.

Further Information about Faulty Hip Replacements in Ireland

If you believe that you have sustained an injury due to a faulty hip replacement, you should not delay in seeking medical attention and contacting a solicitor. Claims for faulty hip replacements in Ireland can only be made within two years of the “date of knowledge” that an injury has been sustained and, although this may seem like a substantial period of time, if tests and examinations are required to support a claim for the maximum faulty hip replacements compensation settlement two years can pass very quickly.

Furthermore, it is worth considering that during this two year period it is more than likely that you will be undergoing a serious operation with a long recovery period. It is therefore in your best interests to have a legal professional handing your claim at the earliest possible opportunity in order that you can focus on recovering from your operation without the potential stress of legal action, knowing that a solicitor is working on your behalf with the aim of obtaining the maximum possible settlement of faulty hip replacements compensation.

Copyright © 2009-2014 Eoin Campbell

Eoin P. Campbell on Whiplash Injury Claims About the Author
Eoin P. Campbell is an honours law graduate (LL.B) and qualified solicitor whose professional experience is in the area of litigation and in particular personal injury claims. Eoin P. Campbell is currently lecturing in law at two universities in Lyon, France.