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A Woeful Tale of Two DePuy Hips

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Venice, NJ"It's hard to live with constant, constant pain." So says a Cork, Ireland woman who has suffered through no fewer than three operations to her one hip since a troublesome DePuy Hip Replacement system was removed from her body about a year before the worldwide recall of the DePuy hip ASR component. Juergen Schaberick, a native of Frankfurt who moved to the New Jersey community of Venice in 1995, is pretty much disabled now after having another compromised DePuy hip component installed, then removed.

It gives you a sense of just how widespread the DePuy hip debacle has become. The pain, indeed, is being felt globally.

The November 21 issue of the Irish News details the plight of Antoinette Power, who received her defective DePuy Hip Replacement system in 2006. The DePuy ASR was finally removed after three troublesome and challenging years.

"The loss of life that people would have had, in time, as in living, because of what we've gone through, and what our children and our families have gone through," she said in an interview with Prime Time, an investigative program produced by Ireland's national broadcaster, RTE.

"How many people in the world are not able to go through with that second operation? It makes life sound so cheap."

Power went through her entire ordeal—including a second operation to remove the defective DePuy ASR—a year before the Hip Replacement Recall of the DePuy ASR. Power speaks about not only the challenges faced by patients of the defective product, but also their families.

The DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System was first approved in 2005.

Schaberick received another DePuy Hip system—the Pinnacle—three years ago after losing his balance and twisting his hip, according to the November 20 issue of the Asbury Park Press. X-rays showed his hip had deteriorated to the point where he required a hip implant. Just prior to Christmas in 2008, Schaberick took home a shiny, new DePuy hip

While the scar healed, Schaberick told the Asbury Park Press that inside, the prosthetic hip never felt right. His physical therapist agreed that something was wrong.

The new-age metal-on-metal implants that were once touted with such triumph have proven to be a scourge for some patients. Minute metal shavings have caused inflammation of surrounding tissue, together with the potential release of cobalt and other metallic substances into the bloodstream.

Schaberick's story has, so far, not been a happy one. Required to walk up to six miles a day for his sales job, Schaberick was forced to quit working and now lives in constant pain confined to a rented apartment. He doesn't have health insurance. His only relief can be found in a reclining chair while taking the weight off his right leg.

He's only 53. Schaberick has launched a DePuy lawsuit against DePuy and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson.

Dr. Sidney Wolfe, who heads up the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, takes issue with the loophole in regulations set forth by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that gives medical device manufacturers the opportunity to bypass intensive pre-market testing provided the new product is "substantially similar" to one that is already on the market.

As the similarities filter down through generations of "substantially similar" devices, Wolfe makes the observation that "by increments, you wind up with something that's really not terribly equivalent to the (original) existing device."

The Irish News reports that up to 94,000 patients worldwide have received the DePuy ASR system. Many of those patients have filed a DePuy lawsuit seeking redress and compensation for their pain and suffering.

READ ABOUT DEPUY HIP REPLACEMENT LAWSUITS

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READER COMMENTS

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I posted here before as my husband is a victim of a DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal, surgery was December 2008. Pain and toxic levels got worst and worst since I posted last. Today, I’d like to share outcome of a SSA Disability hearing in front of an Administrative Lawful Judge (ALJ), the third instance of the the approval process SSA Disability: The Judge knew more about the dangers and pain my husband is going through than anybody else in the court room. Even the vocational expert agreed to full disability. We lost health insurance and all benefits, can’t get reverse surgery done because of lack of health insurance. Well, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. To all fellow DePuy victims and family members out there: When you need more information on my husband’s final approval for SSA Disability, please, feel free to contact us on here, or through the author of this very blog. Going through denials besides all the pain and suffering is not fun at all, so maybe that Judge’s decision will help all of us while we are waiting what the U.S. Federal Courts and Jurors will decide down the road.

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