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DePuy Attempted to Acquire Medical Records, Failed DePuy Hips: Lawyer

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Seattle, WAThe recall of the DePuy Hip Replacement, the hip replacement system that suffered from a failure rate of 12 to 13 percent within five years, has been dogged by accusations that the manufacturer was attempting to dampen its liability during litigation by persuading DePuy patients to sign over their confidential medical records.

According to a Seattle legal firm conversant with the DePuy debacle, two days before announcing the recall of the doomed hip replacement system earlier this year, DePuy sent a communiqué to surgeons alerting them to the recall.

The manufacturer also, according to a press release dated October 17th, provided a medical release form intended, it appears, to negate a patient's rights in litigation and breach the confidentiality of medical records. The Bernard Law Group of Seattle cautioned that DePuy Hip patients signing such a release would give the manufacturer the right to review confidential medical records, as well as the right to take possession of the defective hip implant following revision surgery.

Providing the manufacturer with such information, together with the defective medical device, could provide the manufacturer with a potentially unfair advantage assuming a DePuy Lawsuit.

It was also alleged that the manufacturer offered to pay surgeons a $50 stipend for every signed medical release they could provide. "Paying surgeons to encourage their patients to sign away their confidential medical records does not put the patient's best interest at heart," claimed Kirk Bernard, of the Bernard Law Group. "DePuy is only in this for DePuy. By obtaining the medical records of their affected patients, they will use that information against the person during litigation."

Meanwhile Estella Wahl, together with her husband Terry, are two DePuy plaintiffs taking DePuy Orthopedics and parent company Johnson & Johnson to court over a defective DePuy ASR XL Modular Acetabular Cup System and the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System.

According to the October 12th issue of Medical Device Daily, Mrs. Wahl began experiencing excruciating pain soon after receiving her DePuy hip in 2007. The plaintiff suffered from pain and hindrance of basic motion for more than three years until finally undergoing two "debilitating" revision surgeries in the summer of this year, not long after the Hip Replacement Recall.

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