Not since the days of Monica Lewinsky has parsing the meaning of a word—or two in this case—been worthy of such scrutiny. The words, “if necessary” in this “Claims & Reimbursement FAQs” link on the Stryker website should perhaps make any hip replacement patient who’s been affected by the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck hip stems recall suspect.
Well, a little walk down memory lane on LawyersandSettlements.com brings up a story we had published back when Broadspire was the third-party claims administrator brought in by J&J to handle DePuy hip replacement claims.
At the time, a Reuters article noted that the move means that Broadspire’s physicians—not the patient’s physician—will determine whether a hip should be replaced. This means that even if the patient’s physician recommends replacing the hip, if a Broadspire physician disagrees with the decision, Johnson & Johnson may not pay to cover the costs of that surgery.
So is history repeating itself?
Clearly by inserting the words “if necessary” in discussing defective hip replacement revision surgery reimbursements Broadspire retains the right to deem whether a revision surgery was necessary, or not; the “not” undoubtedly necessitating a denial—or reduction—of reimbursement.
What we’re hearing from attorneys like Ben Stewart of Stewart Law Group PLLC., who’s familiar with defective hip lawsuits, is that before a patient submits any paperwork with Broadspire—or signs anything—for a Stryker hip reimbursement claim, he or she should first talk to a lawyer.
The Canadian Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Implant recall was the tip-off.
For patients who’ve undergone hip replacement surgery and have sat and followed the legal news about the alleged DePuy Hip problems (both the DePuy Pinnacle and the DePuy ASR), and the Zimmer Hip problems (the Durom cup)—both utilizing metal-on-metal componentry that’s alleged to be defective—the Stryker hip recall in Canada had to have sparked the question: why if the same hip implant is recalled there hasn’t it been recalled here?
Well, now it has. Only it’s been a rather quiet recall announcement.
Stryker has announced a voluntary recall of the Stryker Rejuvenate Modular and ABG II modular-neck hip stems. The recall by Stryker was voluntary. The reason the recall was initiated is because of potential risks associated with modular-neck stems. The risks, as reported on the Stryker website, include the potential for “fretting and/or corrosion at or about the modular-neck junction, which may result in adverse local tissue reactions manifesting with pain and/or swelling.”
As with the previous metal-on-metal hip implant components, which led to hip implant lawsuits, the alleged issue is an increased risk of metallosis—which can occur as the metal hip components rub against each other, thereby releasing particles of cobalt and chromium into the blood. According to Stryker, if you are experiencing pain or swelling at the joint site, you should speak with your hip surgeon.
While the US Stryker voluntary recall does not specify model numbers, the following information and model numbers were identified in the Health Canada recall notification:
If you’re experiencing pain or swelling in the area of your hip replacement, regardless of which manufacturer and/or model of hip implant you have, speak to your hip surgeon.