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Too Young to Suffer Zimmer Hip Failure

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Los Angeles, CASirjoh Harrison does not look like a candidate for a hip replacement. The young African American appearing in the YouTube video looks to be in his early twenties. And yet for reasons he did not explain, he was a candidate for and received a Zimmer hip. His experience with the prosthetic device has proven to be similar to other hip replacement patients, whose problems prompted Zimmer to recall the problematic artificial hips two years ago.

"Basically, I started off with the original Zimmer Durom Cup," Harrison says, appearing in a video at the behest of the Dorr Arthritis Institute at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles. "For whatever reason, the right side, it did not take. We didn't understand what the problem was until two years later. What I was going through in those two years was an unbelievable amount of pain. I was not able to sleep, I was not able to get up and go use the restroom without hopping around on one leg. I needed a crutch or a cane or a walker just to do mundane routines in my house like brush my teeth.

"I recommend anyone that has any discomfort, explain it to your doctor in detailed fashion," Harrison goes on with regard to his Zimmer hip replacement. "When you say you have throbbing pain, let them know that it lasts for hours. When you say that you have a sharp, shooting pain try to describe exactly where that pain is."

Prosthetic hips are expected to last upwards of 20 years with normal use. However, with the Zimmer product, patients began reporting failures within two years or sooner. Zimmer Durom Cup hip replacement relied on the capacity for a patient's own bone to fuse with the porous material in the Durom Cup.

In Harrison's experience—and that of several other patients—it didn't happen. He reports that he went to five different doctors without success until William Thomas Long, MD of the Dorr Arthritis Institute studied Harrison's X-rays and noted a minute space between the prosthetic hip device from Zimmer Inc. and the bone.

Harrison noted in the video that he had experience with two types of pain—a sharp pain that he could not isolate for location and a throbbing pain within the area of his hip.

The sharp pain is "like a lightning bolt. I don't know if it's in my leg, I don't know if it's in my hip, I don't know if it comes through my back." But he cries out when the sharp pain occurs. "That's for real. When I'm with my mom I'm embarrassed, or when I'm with friends I'm embarrassed."

As for the throbbing pain, "I would sit up and feel the throbbing feeling like someone that's got a 200 pound bear grip and just holding on to your hip and pulling you in."

Such is life with defective Zimmer hip replacements. Even for a young man.


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