According to a CBC News report from January 13, that's what happened to Zoey Nicoles. A car accident 15 years ago left Nicoles with injuries that led to a hip replacement in 2009. Now 37, Nicoles was shocked to find out that there was a DePuy recall, and that there may be an issue with the prosthetic device.
"I received a letter from Horizon Health stating that the device that I have, there's been a voluntary recall on it and I should contact my doctor," Nicoles told the CBC.
"I was pretty shocked. I said you've gotta be joking me. I was just pretty much floored. I had put it off for so long, knowing that a person can only get so many hip replacements. They're supposed to be good for 20 to 25 years."
The CBC notes that a number of Maritime residents, who hail from Eastern Canada, have joined the Canadian class action. Among the plaintiffs is Jo-Anne Scharf of Nova Scotia, who received her DePuy implant in April 2005. While it is unclear if either Scharf or Nicoles are currently having issues with their devices, the odds are good that they may. 2010 data from the manufacturer of the DePuy hip—DePuy Orthopaedics—show that five years after implantation, approximately 12 perent or one in eight patients who received an ASR device needed to have revision surgery.
The DePuy hip has only been available in Canada since 2006.
Scharf is concerned, according to her statement of claim, that she may require revision surgery for the recalled implant. She's also concerned about her blood iron levels. The plaintiff's lawsuit claims that the defendants, DePuy Orthopaedics and Johnson & Johnson, failed to disclose or warn Canadians as to the significant risk of implant failure.
"The defendants were aware of many complaints made to the Food and Drug Administration in the United States and Health Canada regarding the failure of the DePuy implants," the statement of claim asserts.
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"These complaints included component loosening, misalignment, dislocation and fracture, and the creation of abnormal or excessive metal debris in the hip socket. This metal debris could spread to surrounding tissue, causing severe inflammation and damage."
DePuy ASR was recalled in August of last year after so many implants were failing too soon—and well beyond the normal 20-year lifespan of a prosthetic hip. The DePuy hip was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2005—a year before its introduction in Canada—but avoided having to face clinical trials due to the fact that, in the FDA's view, DePuy Hip Replacement was similar to products already on the market. Critics of the regulatory loophole have been calling for its ouster.