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Zimmer Hip: "I Don't Blame My Orthopedic Surgeon"

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Lancaster, PA"It took me some time to decide whether to go ahead with a Zimmer Hip Replacement lawsuit because I'm not the litigious kind, but this Zimmer company is different," says Patricia. "My doctor has at least 20 years experience with hip and knee replacement surgery and he is very competent, so I blame the manufacturer for its defective device."

Patricia says her hip "popped out" just two weeks after surgery. "I came home from the hospital on March 30, 2011, and it dislocated April 12th—my husband was there when it happened; he said I sounded like a wounded animal."

So it was back to the hospital, this time by ambulance to the ER. "The x-rays showed a dislocation and a small caged fracture," Patricia explains. "I couldn’t believe it…

"After the initial hip replacement, I had therapy before coming home. They tell you to abide by these hip replacement rules:

1. Don't bend your leg at the hip past 90 degrees.
2. Don't bring your knee above the hip.
3. Don't cross your legs.
4. Don't rotate your leg inward.

"If you follow these rules, you will—supposedly—keep the hip in place until the tendons and muscles are strengthened enough to hold the hip in place. I followed these rules by the book." (For more information, visit online patient guide.)

Patricia says she was doing fine and exceeding expectations but she still had not recovered enough to be left alone—and that turned out to be a good thing. "On April 12th I walked into the kitchen with my walker, sat on a chair and all of a sudden this Zimmer hip popped out," she says. "As I mentioned, I was following the rules but it just exploded like someone shot me. I looked at my thigh and expected to see my skin crawling. Then I passed out. My daughter, Melanie, is a nurse and she is still traumatized! 'It was like seeing your mother run over by a truck,' she said.

"I was in such pain I was hardly aware of my surroundings. Melanie rode in the ambulance and held my leg—it was a bumpy ride. At the hospital they told me 'When a hip is dislocated, the foot becomes unnaturally twisted inward,' and you could tell my hip was out. They told me that I was going to have another surgery. I was admitted and my orthopedic surgeon was notified. Because I was on a blood thinner (from the first surgery) they couldn't do surgery right away—I'd just gotten a dose from my daughter that morning. I had to wait 24 hours to get it out of my system, so I spent all that time in pain.

"After the revision surgery, my orthopedic surgeon informed me that my scar, which was originally eight inches, was now 15 inches. He removed the Zimmer replacement and added another Zimmer part—a lip at the joint. And he had to drill out the marrow in my knee to attach a longer stem into my femur.

"I never point blank asked him if the replacement was defective, but now I am sure it was defective because I wasn't doing anything—it just popped. I asked my doctor if it could have been my fault. He said that even If I had broken one of the rules, it isn't cumulative—meaning that isn't going to turn into a dislocation.

"Did the doctor put in the wrong model? The first one was taken out at Lancaster hospital and I have no idea where it is. It didn't occur to me to keep it—from my research online I discovered that defective product and personal injury attorneys tell you to keep it as evidence. As I said, I am not the suing kind. But I am now."


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