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More DePuy Canada Complaints

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Toronto, CanadaSince Carol had a DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System—an artificial hip implant—in 2008 at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, she has been in chronic pain. "My artificial hip is always sore and stiff and I have less flexibility than before surgery," she said. Because Carol is concerned that she will need revision surgery, she is hoping to join one of three (so far) DePuy Hip Canada class-action lawsuits.

Interestingly, DePuy Canada collaborated with surgeons and funded clinical trials at St. Michael's Hospital, where Carol (not her real name) received her DePuy Hip replacement. DePuy donated $350,000 to research in 2009 to a surgeon who wrote a paper (among many others) titled "Reducing Hip and Knee Replacement Wait Times: An Expanded Role for Physiotherapists in Orthopedic Surgical Clinics Healthcare."

In 2005, the Orthopaedic Trauma Association received a DePuy grant for a clinical trial, again at St. Michaels, and another grant the following year. (DePuy has marketed its ASR as a system designed to reduce wear and provide high function for all patients, with "minimal wear conditions" and increased range of motion so that the patient "enjoys an active and more fulfilling life after the operation," with "accelerated recovery."

Unfortunately, for many DePuy recipients, nothing could be further from the truth. They are now facing revision surgery and possible blood toxicity problems caused by metal debris from the DePuy hip entering the bloodstream.

The DePuy hip implant was available in Canada from 2006 until the company, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, recalled 93,000 hip replacements worldwide in the summer of 2010. Since that time, many DePuy lawsuits have been filed, including three class actions in Canada. In December 2010, a Toronto law firm commenced a class action against DePuy Orthopaedics Inc., and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson. The classes suing in these class actions are intended to comprise the estimated 1,500 Canadians—including Carol and Andrew —who received DePuy ASR devices since 2006.

Several DePuy recipients in Nova Scotia have joined a class-action lawsuit, including Jo-Anne Scharf, who received her implant in April 2005 and was informed of the recall on December 12, 2010. The lawsuit says that she is "concerned about the possibility of an early revision surgery and her blood ion levels as a result of her DePuy hip implant." According to the CBC, Scharf's lawsuit alleges that DePuy was long aware of DePuy hip complications complaints, yet refused to pull the device until it was too late.

DePuy finally recalled its ASR devices worldwide after the National Joint Registry of England and Wales made public data showing that, within five years, about 12 percent of recipients of the hip resurfacing system and about 13 percent of recipients of the acetabular system needed corrective surgery. As of December 2010, approximately 115 suits had been filed in the US, including several putative class actions.

"We regret that this recall will be concerning for patients, their family members and surgeons" said David Floyd, president, DePuy Orthopaedics. "We are committed to assisting patients and health care providers by providing information through multiple channels and paying for the cost of doctor visits, tests and procedures associated with the recall." However, attorneys advise patients otherwise. "And if the defective device is taken out, DePuy is trying to get the part sent to them," said Canadian attorney Colin Stevenson of Stevensons LLP. He advises that you speak with your own surgeon and attorney. And if you did have revision surgery, "keep the removed implant; we will store it and have it tested by our expert. As well, our lawyers can deal with the surgeon to ensure that will happen."

Regardless, if you are having complications with your artificial hip implant, call your surgeon to determine if it is indeed a DePuy hip. If you cannot readily get that information from your orthopedic surgeon, call an attorney.

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