By Robert Bourke, Partner, Litigation Unit.
The Health Service Executive has announced that following the recent worldwide recall of artificial hips by DePuy Orthopeadics, a US based firm and a unit of Johnson & Johnson, some 3,500 patients in Ireland who have had hip operations in recent years will possibly need corrective procedures including repeat surgery. Those who are affected will have a right to bring an action seeking damages for wrongdoing and financial losses arising from the corrective surgery.
The recall is in respect of two devises, the ASR XL Acetabular System and the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System. DePuy Orthopaedics has published information based on data from the UK which revealed that approximately 12% of patients who received the ASR resurfacing device and 13% of patients that received the ASR total hip replacement in the last 5 years need corrective surgery.
DePuy has reported that corrective surgery or revision surgery may be needed where the artificial joint does not fit properly, causes pain and swelling, and where patients have problems walking.
It is understood that patients who have had an ASR hip replacement will be contacted by the HSE and asked to attend a medical assessment to ascertain if revision surgery is required.
In addition, DePuy Orthopaedics has requested that patients that have received the devices must sign a consent form authorising the company to have:
- Access to all of the patients medical records
- Delivery of the ex planted hip replacement.
Robert Bourke, Litigation Partner, Holmes O`Malley Sexton advises that this form should not be completed and signed by patients. Recipients of the faulty hip replacement and resurfacing devices will in all probability have a potential action for damages against the manufacture and /or distributor of the devices. Signing the form could affect any legal action contemplated by affected patients. It is important that the original hip replacement is preserved as evidence for any potential proceedings.
In the event that corrective surgery is required, legal advice should be sought without delay. There are strict time limits under Irish law in which to bring a claim. The issue of defective medical devices is a complex area of law encompassing matters such as breach of contract and medical negligence claims. Due to the complexity of the area, the advice of an experienced solicitor should be sought to ensure that rights are fully protected.
Patients that have concerns in respect of the recall or have been affected by the faulty hip replacement and resurfacing devices should obtain legal advice immediately.
* The following disclaimer is required of all practicing solicitors providing information in the area of personal injury law: ‘In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.’
For further information contact Robert Bourke of our Personal Injury Unit.