Zimmer Defective Hip Lawsuit: Six Year Wait for Hip Revision
A plaintiff in the latest Zimmer defective hip lawsuit contends that she had to wait 6 years for hip revision surgery after the company’s Durom Acetabular cup hip replacement component failed not long after implantation, causing her pain and damage.
Ruth Smith underwent hip arthroplasty on July 9, 2007. According to the complaint filed by her lawyers on July 10, 2014 (Smith v. Zimmer Holdings, Inc., et al, case # 2:14-CV-04365), Smith subsequently experienced agonizing hip pain that curtailed her formerly active lifestyle.
Doctors discovered that the Durom cup implant had come loose and that, moreover, metal debris from the all-metal hip had damaged the surrounding soft tissue and bone. The damage meant that she was not a viable candidate for hip revision surgery until November 7, 2013, up until which point she continued to experience significant pain and limited mobility.
Zimmer hip defective lawsuit filed in NJ to be part of MDL
Though the plaintiff is from Ashville, North Carolina, her lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court, district of New Jersey (Newark), with the intention that the case be part of an existing multidistrict litigation (MDL) established in June of 2010.
The MDL comprised well over 200 cases involving plaintiffs suing Zimmer over the allegedly defective Durom cup, and the litigation process entailed a consolidation of the initial discovery phase for all lawsuits. Preliminary (or, so-called “bellwether”) trials devised to test the jury’s response to the evidence presented, are scheduled to take place this year.
However, over 100 lawsuits have already been resolved in advance, with a total in excess of $400 million in Zimmer hip settlements already negotiated, and millions more set aside for anticipated settlements. The bellwether cases will, nevertheless, proceed as appointed.
Plaintiff’s allegations similar to other reported Zimmer hip problems
Smith’s allegations that the Durom cup came loose and resulted in bone and tissue damage are similar to those reported in other lawsuits taking place in New Jersey.
According to critics who initially sounded the alarm about the device, including Dr. Lawrence Dorr (himself a former Zimmer consultant), the high loosening rate of the device is due to the lack of cement or screws to attach it to the patient’s hip. Designed to adhere through the patient’s own growth of bone into the cup, the device frequently failed to attach at all, resulting in loosening and hip failure.
The Durom cup is a metal-on-metal device which, as noted by the FDA, has been shown to cause problematic shedding of metal particles that can lead to damage or metal poisoning (metallosis).
The Durom cup was introduced into the U.S. market in 2006; Zimmer halted sales in July of 2008, however, due to widespread hip complication reports associated with the product. After only two months, they returned the hip implant to the market, citing problems with surgical technique and requiring additional surgeon training.
In complaints from Smith and other former Zimmer hip implantees, plaintiffs have sued not only for liability and negligence related to the manufacturing of a defective product, but also for fraud and misrepresentation. The device was marketed to those who wanted to maintain an active, youthful lifestyle; instead, many hip patients claim to have experienced a diminishment in their activity and mobility due to the allegedly flawed implant.
- NY Times, A Call for a Warning System on Artificial Joints http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/29/business/29hip.html?scp=1&sq=zimmer%20durom&st=cse
- FDA Safety Communication: Metal on Metal Hip Implants, http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm335775.htm
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Questions and Answers About Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants, http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00625