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Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing Lawsuit Filed

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Santa Clara, CASmith & Nephew is the latest hip replacement maker to face a lawsuit over defective design resulting in personal injury. The complaint was filed by a woman who alleges she developed metallosis, or metal blood poisoning, after having a Smith and Nephew 50mm Birmingham Resurfacing femoral head, and a 56mm Birmingham Resurfacing acetabular cup surgically implanted.

According to the lawsuit, the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) system can fail prematurely causing the formation of pseudotumors, as well as metallosis. Lydia Constantini, who filed the complaint, claims that she developed pain and complications after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery in 2008, which is when she had the BHR system implanted. The issues that developed as a result of that BHR implant eventually led Constantini to undergo a second surgery – hip revision surgery- in 2013, during which her surgeon noted that she had developed metallosis and a pseudotumor in her hip. According to Constantini’s lawsuit, the pseudotumor disrupted and compromised her abductor muscle.

Metallosis occurs when metal-on-metal hip implant components rub together causing microscopic metal particles to be released into the bloodstream cobalt. The BHR system contains cobalt and chromium, and particles from these metals were released into Constantini’s blood stream, causing metallosis. Smith & Nephew has issued recalls on certain of its hip replacement implant systems, including the BHR system.

The BHR system was one of the very first metal-on-metal hip replacement systems to enter the market but safety concerns were raised before it was approved. The complaint alleges that Smith & Nephew knowingly sold the defective BHR implant and then tried to cover up signs of problems.

The lawsuit states: “At the time of the initial resurfacing procedure, neither Plaintiff nor her surgeon were aware of the myriad of problems associated with the BHR. In fact…Smith & Nephew continued to promote the BHR as a safe alternative to other metal-on-metal hip devices long after it knew or reasonably should have known of the risk of premature metal-on-metal failure, and did not withdraw the device from U.S. markets until 2015.”

Notably, due to the number of product liability lawsuits filed against Smith & Nephew over the BHR system, in May the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) ordered they all be centralized before U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake in the District of Maryland.

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READER COMMENTS

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Had Birmingham hip resurfacing Dec 2017. Revision surgery June 2019. Metal ion levels raised slightly but still within safe levels. Had chronic pain since first surgery and been attending a pain clinic. Developed endocarditis which destroyed my aortic valve. Was in heart failure and had open heart surgery and value replacement. Professor said endocarditis could only have come from mom hip. Only 1 in 20000000.twenty million in Britain will contract endocarditis. Orthopaedic surgeon agrees hip needs replaced but thinks the risk of developing infection outweighs the need for revision. Lawyers not interested as I still have Birmingham hip implant and unless it is taken out I do not have a case. Ps my lawyer was Thompson.

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