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Could Zimmer NexGen Lawsuits Cripple the Company?

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Pittsburgh, PALawsuits continue to be filed against Zimmer's NexGen knee replacement device, which could explain why Zimmer Holdings' American market net sales dropped by four percent last year. Perhaps more patients like William and Susie are voicing concern to their doctors and requesting knee replacements other than Zimmer NexGen.

Nearly one in 20 Americans (more than four million people) aged 50 or older have artificial knees, according to the Associated Press. This is the first national estimate that indicates how common knee replacements have become. In 1930, America's older population was less than 7 million, which was only 5.4 percent of the population. Now, those age 65 and older now exceed 35 million, and 1 in 5 people are expected to be 65 or older by 2035.

Medical device manufacturers are no doubt counting on sales skyrocketing because the first wave of baby boomers reached retirement age in 2011. But that doesn't appear to be the case with Zimmer products. Zimmer net sales grew just over five percent in 2011 from 2010, but the company attributes that growth to markets other than the US market, where it "went flat."

William just turned 65, one of the first boomers. He says he is very concerned about Zimmer's history and will not be getting another Zimmer NexGen knee for his corrective surgery scheduled next month. "I had a total knee replacement for Patellar Clunk Syndrome in October 2010, but I had so much pain and instability that I had to cancel a trip overseas," says William. "The instability caused me to fall on several occasions and now my orthopedic surgeon says I need revision surgery. I made certain that he won't be replacing this NexGen knee with another Zimmer knee."

As soon as Susie's surgeon told her that her only option to alleviate the pain and limited range of motion was revision surgery, she filed a claim against Zimmer.

Question: How many Zimmer NexGen Knee patients does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer: None.


"I was better off before I had this NexGen replacement knee," says Susie. "Now I can't even climb a couple of steps on a step stool or ladder to change a light bulb.

"I might have to move into a ground-floor apartment because I cannot carry even a couple bags of groceries up the stairs since I have to hold onto hand rails, and it is very painful to climb any stairs at all. I currently live on the third floor, but on the occasions that the elevator was out, I had to get someone to help me with everything—I used to be active and now I am all but crippled."

A number of lawsuits have been filed as part of the multidistrict litigation (MDL) now underway in US District Court, Northern District of Illinois. The lawsuits allege the Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex component is defective and has caused plaintiffs to undergo revision surgery. Attorneys argue that the plaintiffs are entitled to receive compensatory damages for pain and suffering and emotional distress, and any financial losses and punitive damages.

READ ABOUT ZIMMER NEXGEN LAWSUITS

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READER COMMENTS

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I had a total Knee replacement on March 26 2013. After about two months of PT my knee was stiff sore and swollen.
I explained to my Dr that my pain was on the lower outside of my knee He said he made a mistake and he was sorry. He said he didn't surface the patella and he needed to go back in and fix it. So in September he went back in to surface the patella. At no time did he ever talk to me about a lateral release of my IT band but he did it any way. So after a month my pain is worse and in the same spot still stiff swollen ect. This time I developed a Staph infection in my lower leg because the sutures came out of the skin. After a week in the hospital and another week on antibiotics I went in for a follow up. He said he had to drain my Knee because he thought it was full of puss. He filled a bed pan full of blood up.. He went back in november for a wound debriement. he cut me open my knee cap was dislocated and cut some material out on my left side of my knee He did't say anything to me about cutting anything out of my knee. I asked him what brand of knee he used in me he said Zimmer Persona I looked that up and it was introduced on March 20th 2013 six days before my surgery. Now I can barley walk or stand my pain is off the chart i can't bend it anything you would think your knee should do I cant. Now my PT says that the button on the back of the patella is off. I need some advise

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