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Former Zimmer Employee Has Zimmer Knee—Defective?

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San Antonio, TXPossibly thousands of people are getting around (or trying to) with a Zimmer NexGen knee replacement. Take Patti, a former Zimmer employee, for instance. Although she doesn't have a Zimmer NexGen, she believes that her Zimmer Natural knee could also be defective. Since getting the Zimmer knee, she has been unable to walk or stand for more than 10-minute intervals. And she took so much time off work that Zimmer let her go…

Patti, age 60, found out she was getting a Zimmer knee when her doctor said, "I see that you're carrying a Zimmer bag—you're getting a Zimmer knee replacement." Patti worked at Zimmer Dental for two years, teaching dentists and oral surgeons about the implant and restorative process. But after getting a Zimmer knee in 2009, "Zimmer ultimately let me go due to excessive absenteeism," she says. Patti had to take a lot of time off work, with a doctor's note, because she was in chronic pain since getting the Zimmer Natural knee implant in 2007—the same year that Dr. Richard Berger, an orthopedic surgeon and former Zimmer consultant, stopped using Zimmer products.

"I tried to go back to work—in a wheelchair. Even though I did 75 percent of my work on the phone, Zimmer wouldn't let me work from home. I told my supervisor and HR that I was having extreme pain from my Zimmer knee, and my doctor faxed the HR department, stating that I was pretty much disabled. I tried to walk because my doctor advised me to exercise, but it became more and more painful.

"When Zimmer let me go I didn't have any money so I moved to San Antonio from San Diego to be with my family. I got a part-time job where I can just sit or stand for short periods of time. Just before leaving San Diego, I went to my orthopedic surgeon and he said I had to get an MRI but I didn't have insurance. Now I'm in San Antonio and doing the best I can. This state has Carelink, a financial assistance program of University Health System. Referrals take a long time but two weeks ago I saw an orthopedic surgeon. He said my bone is not fitting into the implant correctly, so he referred me to a complete joint surgeon at the University of Texas.

"Although I am furious with Zimmer because I have this defective knee, I also felt relieved that there was something wrong and it wasn't just in my mind; after a whole year of trying to get someone to help me, now there is a specific problem that can be fixed. I get angry every time I start to research Zimmer knee. And just trying to get a medical appointment is a monumental effort because I am on welfare—because I lost my job at Zimmer due to their defective knee. I even have to get food stamps!

"I just hope that others don't have to go through the pain that I did. I'm at my daughter's house right now watching my grandchildren. I have to crawl up the stairs and bounce down the stairs on my butt.

"Next time I see my orthopedic surgeon I will find out exactly how this could have happened, and I will talk to an attorney to find out how to join a Zimmer knee lawsuit."

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