Zimmer Hip Replacement Problems: Is the Durom Cup Sound?
Many injured patients who hired a Zimmer hip lawyer to seek compensation for Zimmer hip failure allegations were able to arrive at a pre-trial settlement with the artificial joint maker. However, a Zimmer hip attorney in at least seven cases was unable to reach an agreement through court-mandated mediation that was satisfactory for his or her client. These seven lawsuits, all of which allege Zimmer hip replacement problems, are now proceeding to trial in federal court.
Problematic Durom Cup metal on metal design
The source of the alleged Zimmer hip replacement problems is in the Durom Cup implant. The Durom Cup is a metal on metal device that utilizes a “ball and cup” design. To allow implant recipients a high degree of range of motion, the metal ball component in the device interacts with and against the metal cup part. Some hip recipients, who may have consulted a Zimmer knee lawyer to discuss the possibility of receiving compensation for Zimmer hip failure, have claimed that the grinding of the two metal components can release small metal shavings into the blood and surrounding soft tissue. This can lead to a dangerous condition called metallosis: a high metal ion count in the patient’s blood stream.
The Durom Cup was first released to the U.S. market in 2006. By 2008, 12,000 patients in this country alone had been implanted with the device. By that time, some doctors and patients had begun to complain about Zimmer hip replacement problems with early device loosening, which sometimes led to device dislocation and the need for revision surgery, or complete replacement of the artificial hip.
Zimmer hip revision surgery
Zimmer took these reports about Zimmer hip replacement problems seriously enough to issue a voluntarily suspension of sale of the Durom Cup in July of 2008. Zimmer believed the problems with loosening were not the result of a device defect, but instead with inadequate surgical instructions. The Durom Cup was released back onto the market with more in-depth surgical technique instructions and patient management guidelines. In an open letter to surgeons at the time of the temporary Durom Cup sales suspension, the implant manufacturer addressed the issue of reported problems with Zimmer hip replacements, stating, “No evidence of a defect in the materials, manufacture, or design of the implant has been found.” Zimmer speculated that the rate of premature revision surgery for the Durom Cup device was 5.7%.
Acknowledging the significant number of lawsuits, filed by a Zimmer hip attorneys on behalf of injured victims, that aimed to earn compensation for such hip failures, the joint maker announced in 2010 that it had set aside millions of dollars for a Zimmer hip settlement fund. While $69 million had reportedly been aside in 2008 for settlement payouts to plaintiffs alleging problems with Zimmer hip replacements, that number rose $145 million by 2010.
The seven federal Zimmer hip lawsuits that have failed to reach pre-trial settlements are consolidated as part of multidistrict litigation (MDL) in New Jersey. The MDL judge has decided that the window of time for the hip maker to negotiate out-of-court settlements with the plaintiffs’ Zimmer hip lawyer has come to an end. As a result, the initial bellwether trial for plaintiffs seeking compensation for Zimmer hip failure will likely commence in 2012.