We also sometimes assume – as was the case with the six most recent bellwether plaintiffs – that hip replacement recipients tend to be middle-aged, or older. But that is not always the case.
Meet Kiara Kenneally, a resident of Sandyford in Dublin, Ireland. Kenneally is a plaintiff in a Pinnacle hip replacement lawsuit alleging “personal injuries, upset, distress, loss and damage” that resulted from her metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip.
In a departure from the typical DePuy Pinnacle hip, Kenneally is 27 years old, and was just 16 when she underwent hip replacement surgery on her left side on August 17, 2005.
While there was no reference in the Irish Independent report (01/11/16) as to why the hip replacement was necessary at such a young age, court documents show that Kenneally has undergone two revision surgeries in the last decade and will be in need of two more in the next few years. According to her DePuy Pinnacle lawsuit, the plaintiff’s life “was ruined as a result,” without any opportunity to get back those years of her adolescence and young adulthood.
Court documents also reveal that the allegedly failed DePuy hip implant compromised Kenneally’s opportunity to bond, interact and spend quality time with her infant daughter, who was born in 2010.
With traditional life spans for older-generation hip implants expected at between 15 and 20 years, Kenneally would not expect to revisit her hip implant until well into her thirties. However, that proved not to be the case, in similar fashion to other recipients of the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement who have alleged failure in as little as five years or less.
The newer-generation metal-on-metal implants were designed to last longer than traditional hip implants, as well as facilitate a more active lifestyle. In reality, the implants have been wearing prematurely, with the added issue of minute metal particles from the cobalt-chromium alloys used in the design, inflaming and compromising surrounding tissue and releasing metal ions into the bloodstream, fostering a condition known as metallurgical toxicity.
An additional concern is the most recent release, by the US Department of Health & Human Services on November 3 of this year, of its 14th report on potential carcinogens. Cobalt and cobalt compounds made the list. While the listing of cobalt was based largely on studies involving animals, the DHHS nonetheless concluded that “the highest exposure occurs in the workplace and from failed surgical implants.”
Revision surgeries are often conducted for metallurgical toxicity, as often as they are for an implant having failed for any other reason.
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DePuy Orthopaedics is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
As the case was tried under California law in this DePuy Pinnacle trial, there is no legislated cap on punitive damages.
DePuy International initiated the DePuy Pinnacle recall in Ireland in August, 2010. There was no specific case information available.