Zimmer Hip Failure: Design Flaw, or Surgeon Error?
Sixty-three year old Trudie Millerburg is just one of many patients who have experienced Zimmer hip replacement problems, and subsequently hired a Zimmer hip lawyer. The critical issue for all of these lawsuits is whether Zimmer hip failure in the Durom Cup device was due to poor design by the manufacturer, or instead surgical error.
Millerburg is a retired clinical lab scientist who had total hip replacement surgery in 2007, receiving Zimmer’s Durom Cup model artificial hip. The Durom Cup follows a metal-on-metal “ball and socket” design. Unlike the previous generation of prosthetic joints, the Durom Cup is a cementless device, meaning that it does not require an ultra-strong adhesive glue to attach its metal parts to the patient’s bone, but instead relies on a stimulation process by which the bone naturally fuses to the implant. The Durom Cup was sold as a replacement joint that would last 15 years, and was specially marketed to patients with active lifestyles, who required a joint with maximum flexibility and range of motion.
Patient experienced Zimmer hip failure within 2 years
As Millerburg eventually reported to her Zimmer hip lawyer, she began to experience Zimmer hip failure within 2 years of initial implantation. The Durom Cup device failed to correctly fuse with her bone, resulting in Zimmer hip replacement problems such as loosening, dislocation, and intense pain caused by component parts of the artificial hip rubbing against her nerve endings. Ultimately, Millerburg, like so many other patients who have reached out to a Zimmer hip attorney after suffering such a Zimmer hip failure, was forced to have revision surgery — a second surgery to remove and replace the improperly functioning Durom Cup.
Zimmer temporarily suspended sales of the Durom Cup in 2008, partially in response to the large amount of lawsuits filed by a Zimmer knee lawyer against the company, which alleged a wide range of Zimmer hip replacement problems, including premature Zimmer hip implant failure. Zimmer claims that the fault lies not in the design of the Durom Cup system, but instead in poor technique of the surgeons implanting the device. As a result, Zimmer re-released the Durom Cup onto the market with expanded and more detailed surgical instructions.
Durom Cup failure rates not due to surgical incompetence?
Millerburg’s surgeon is Dr. Lawrence Dorr, a former paid Zimmer consultant who has since gone public with what he views as unacceptably high rates of Zimmer hip replacement problems in the Durom Cup model. Dorr rejects Zimmer’s theories that blame surgical incompetence, instead suggesting that the peculiar non-hemispheric design impedes the process of bone fusing to metal.
“We had failures with it,” warns Dr. Dorr, according to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, “and we didn’t think it was a good design,”
In 2010, Zimmer publicly acknowledged that it had set aside a large fund of money to be paid out to injured patients through settlements negotiated by a Zimmer hip lawyer. At last count, the settlements fund for Zimmer hip failure had reached a total of $145 million.
All Durom Cup lawsuits filed in a federal court by a Zimmer hip lawyer were consolidated into multidistrict litigation under the oversight of a single judge in 2010. The first bellwether trial over Zimmer hip failure is scheduled to start in 2012.